An appeals court in Alabama has ruled against the State’s Native American inmates who had been fighting for the right to keep their hair long in prison.
According to ABC News, the 11th US Circuit of Appeals upheld the existing Alabama prison policy requiring male inmates to wear their hair short with no exceptions. Security and hygiene were cited as the reasons for upholding the current policy.
Lawyers had been arguing that long hair was entwined with Native Americans’ strong sacred and ancestral traditions, and asked the court to take into consideration the fact that other States permitted long hair in certain cases. Joel West Williams, staff attorney with the Native American Rights Fund, told ABC that “the evidence is that 39 jurisdictions allow long hair and do so safely.”
The irony of the ruling is that members of some Native American tribes are almost entirely immune to Male Pattern Baldness. Continues below.
In a study, researchers found that men from tribes rooted in the Alaskan Bridge (the very North of the continent) almost never show signs of genetic hair loss. Among those that do, it has been suggested, the hereditary predisposition towards hair loss has perhaps been introduced via inter-tribe marriages.
Nonetheless, Native Americans are renowned for their magnificent hair, which experts suggest may be down to a “natural” approach to haircare. Native American website the Indian Country Today Media Network, for example, says that Native American elders “didn’t wash their hair and mess with it every day, so this allowed their hair to relax." Believing, "If you are constantly messing with your hair it can hinder the growth.”
Among the things many Native Americans do recommend are Aloe Vera, an acclaimed natural moisturiser, Saw Palmetto (a herb found in Belgravia's Hair Vitalics dietary supplements) and also the stinging nettle, which it is claimed can stop testosterone from producing DHT.
DHT is the dreaded testosterone by-product that binds itself to hair follicles of those who are predisposed to genetic hair loss, causing them to gradually weaken and wither. This leads to visibly thinning hair around the top of the head - the area that DHT attacks - and can even cause eventual baldness if hair loss treatment is avoided.
None of this likely to be a subject of much debate among the male Native American inmate population of Alabama for the foreseeable future, however: what's likely to be on their minds is their lawyer, Mark Sabel, and what his next course of action might be.
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