Las Vegas Sun

April 16, 2014

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Public Safety:

Prison board adopts grooming standards for correctional officers

Correctional officers in the Nevada Department of Corrections will be required to cover all their tattoos while at work and will be prohibited from wearing any jewelry or studs on their nose, tongue, eyebrow or other exposed body parts.

Beards and goatees will be allowed, but they must be "neatly trimmed to be no longer than 1 inch in length." Mustaches must not extend beyond or below the corner of the mouth.

These are part of the new grooming standards adopted Tuesday by the Board of State Prison Commissioners, composed of the governor, secretary of state and attorney general.

The new grooming regulation says all tattoos or branding must be covered by clothing, makeup, neutral-toned bandages or patches. Hand and finger tattoos must be concealed by gloves.

Another change says fingernail polish is allowed for custody staff, but only light tones are allowed and no designs.

Hair on the sides of the head must not to cover more than half an inch of the outside portion of the ear and no decorations are allowed in hair except clips or pins that closely match an officer's hair color.

The new grooming standards, proposed by the corrections department, are "to ensure that all employees portray the most favorable image of law enforcement," according to the regulation. "Such an image should reflect the highest professional standards and be consistent with public expectations of a disciplined organization which demonstrate confidence and trust."

Changes will also be coming to inmate programs, as Scott Sisco, deputy director of the Department of Corrections, said the system would lose $650,000 next fiscal year that funds programs such as sports equipment, television service and the law libraries. Corrections Director Greg Cox said he will try to make the cuts to the programs so they don't hurt prison morale.

The board also agreed to comply with a federal regulation that reduces the charge for inmates' local telephone calls from a $1 service charge and 13 cents a minute to 12 cents a minute with no service charge.

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