Will Rebekah Brooks Have to Cut Her Hair in Prison?

If sent to prison, Rebekah Brooks’s hair, in all its explosive and spiraling glory, could serve as the perfect hiding place for illegal drugs, shank weapons, and unapproved conjugal visitors. But in a recent interview, an operator for Scotland Yard’s crime line said he doubted she’d be forced to cut her hair. “I wouldn’t imagine so,” he said, before giving me the correct number for press inquiries. “That’s a bit draconian for the UK.”

Draconian compared to the United States, where male inmates have been harshly punished for refusing to trim their locks; US women’s prisons also have strict rules about hair length and style—and have even been known to search an inmate’s hair, as particularly bushy or curly tendrils could be arranged to conceal and transport contraband.

“I don’t see why she would have to cut her hair,” conferred a representative from the Ministry of Justice—a department that, as he put it, “looks after” the prison systems in England and Wales.

“Granted, one cannot speculate as to who might go to prison,” he added. “But there is no law in England or Wales that would force Rebekah Brooks to conform to a particular hairstyle or cut.”

In fact, it turns out that even male prisoners in the UK are entitled to long hair. Granted, on-site perms and professional hair dying are probably another story, and so not every inmate can hope to naturally achieve the enviable fullness and flame-red-nature of Rebekah Brooks’s locks. But at least in British and Welsh prisons, one reserves the right to try.

Photo by James A. Powers

Kathleen Hale is the author of NO ONE ELSE CAN HAVE YOU, forthcoming from HarperCollins in 2014. ...read more

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