Supreme Court strip-search ruling violates arrestees’ rights, privacy

» ronniessia reed – rreed24@my.apsu.edu

How would you feel if you were taken to jail and the police decided they wanted to strip search you? No reason for it, they just wanted to conduct an all-out strip search on you. Well, recently the Supreme Court passed a law that made this legal.

“Every detainee who will be admitted to the general jail or prison population may be required to undergo a close visual inspection while undressed,” said Justice Anthony Kennedy in his ruling. “Maintaining safety and order at detention centers requires the expertise of correctional officials.” I understand once a person goes to jail, they lose a lot of their freedom, but this is going too far. A person should have the right to choose whether or not they get naked in front of a stranger.

Kennedy said, “courts are in no position to second-guess the judgments of correctional officials who must consider not only the possibility of smuggled weapons and drugs, but also public health and information about gang affiliations.” All of these things could happen, but think about the people who are not involved in any of these crimes.

What about the people who go to jail for simple things like not paying a ticket? They are subject to having to strip completely naked for something that simple.

The ruling comes from a case called Florence v. Burlington. In this case, a man named Albert Florence was stripped down and searched multiple times for what the police said was a non-paid traffic fine. According to CNN, the traffic fine was already paid and he had proof it was paid. Regardless, the police still arrested him and took him to jail.

After searching him numerous times and transferring him to a correctional facility, he was finally let go once a judicial officer realized he had indeed paid his fine. Florence sued claiming “the search protocols violated his Fourth Amendment rights, since neither jail reasonably suspected he presented a security threat, or was smuggling contraband.” Despite his unfair treatment, he still lost the battle in court.

The reality of Florence’s unfair treatment is it could’ve been anybody. It could have been me, you, your brother or your best friend. It should not be OK to strip search someone multiple times because of a traffic fine. We should not be subject to taking off all of our clothes just because the police tell us to.

There are some cases, like Florence’s, when the person is completely innocent and the situation just isn’t fair. TAS

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