Illegal Strip Searches & PREA
The Arkansas Departments of Correction is run by a bunch of sick perverts much like any other State Prisons. This is particularly true when it comes to the way they handle "shakedown" procedures of all Inmates in emergency searches, barracks shakedowns, individual shakedowns, and coming back into the facility from outside the compound. This is bad even in individual strip searches but is very bad in group strip searches. ADC forces male and female Inmates to violate both law and Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) laws by their strip searches. All strip searches are not necessary and is an obsolete practice except in emergency situations and these searches do not slow or stop anything.
The intent of a strip search is to verify and ensure an Inmate is not carrying not smuggling any weapons or contraband into the Prison. Until the early 2000's a strip search was the only method of ensuring security yet should have always been done in private, one Inmate at a time. Prison officials complain searching one at a time takes too long and they blame lack of staff. ADC appears to enjoy mass strip searches or "gang" strips of both male and female Inmates...and comment sexually and visually on bodies.
Inside of the Prison in full barracks shakedowns, ADC forces all Inmates to strip to their underwear (boxers for males, bra and panties for females) then sends them all to the day room nearly nude in front of each other and officers of the opposite gender. Often Inmates are then forced to go to the bathroom, drop their underwear, squat and cough and in worse instances, bend over and "spread their cheeks" in front of everyone. Often, single strip searches of a person will be done in front of everyone. Sometimes the Inmate may be cuffed and paraded down the hall for all to see them in their underwear. This public strip searching is in violation of the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) and is plain humiliating when this practice is not necessary and should be performed in private out of view of everyone else.
For Inmates who must go outside of the building, work, or go outside the fence it's worse. Every time the Inmates come back to the vehicle trap of the Sally Port Gates where vehicles and buses stop and set, the Inmates are forced to strip and be searched here in full public view. Forced to strip in large groups in front of each other in the weather, the elements (Hot, Cold, rain...) often standing in dirt and/or oil. This is in full view of the entire prison, free world staff, public view, and staff of opposite gender.
This practice is perverted and completely unnecessary. Uncalled for today as ADC has full body scanners yet refuse to use them with complaints and claims "its takes to long." Funny fact is this means ADC forces Inmates to violate State Law of Public Indecency, Indecent Exposure, and PREA along with forcing them all to be sex offenders in acts of public nudity and flashing.
This very strip search issue has finally been fought and WON by the Women Incarcerated in California at the Century Regional Detention Facility (CRDF) in Los Angeles (see: Amader v. Baca, U.S.D.C. (C.D. Cal.), Case No. 2:10-cu-01649-SVW-JEM). These women suffered the exact same treatment as the Men and Women incarcerated in the Arkansas Department of Correction (ADC) facilities. Condolences for what these California Women went through, but thank you for setting the grounds for everyone else to fight as well.
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