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ACLU condemns invasive strip searches at women's prison

Michigan Department of Corrections

 The Michigan American Civil Liberties Union is criticizing Michigan’s only women’s prison for conducting invasive strip searches.

The ACLU says the Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility uses invasive body cavity searches after family visits, whether or not they believe a woman is hiding contraband.

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled law enforcement officials may strip-search people arrested for any offense before admitting them to jails.

Sarah Mehta is a spokesperson for the ACLU. She says the Huron Valley Correctional facility searches are different from the ones evaluated by the Supreme Court.

"Any woman who wants to have a contact visit with her family, with her children, who wants to meet in person with her attorney, or who has a work position within the facility is going to have to go through these searches," she says. "That means that some women are going through these incredibly degrading and invasive searches on a daily basis."

A spokesperson from the correctional facility says it stopped these types of searches last December, because they were ineffective.  The ACLU, however, claims prisoners have complained about ongoing searches through last week.

-Alex Markel, Michigan Radio Newsroom