Female prisoners being forcibly strip searched.

(48 Posts)
allthegoodnamesweretaken Wed 29-Aug-12 09:07:17


Women in New Hall Prison have been subject to being restrained, having their clothes cut off and then being forcibly strip searched. This in my eyes is sexual assault no? The chief inspector of prisons has described these assaults as unnaceptable, but as far as I can see they aren't actually punishing anyone involved or offering any support to the women.

Uppercut Wed 29-Aug-12 11:04:17

Do you think the officers should be charged with sexual assault because they forcibly removed the clothes from a prisoner? It's a prison, not a holiday camp.

I'm not sure why this a feminist issue.

allthegoodnamesweretaken Wed 29-Aug-12 11:15:44

Actually, I thought strip searching involved cavity searches. But I just googled it and it doesn't blush.

LastMangoInParis Wed 29-Aug-12 11:37:17

Apparently clothes are only cut off in very extreme situations where a prisoner is resisting a search, and scissors are used to cut clothes off for safety/hygiene reasons. (Sounds strange, I know, bit there you go.)
As I understand it, such searches have taken place at New Hall where the force used has in fact been seen to be disproportionate to the aim.
So it seems that there's a basic human rights issue.
We could discuss endlessly whether or not this particular issue is 'gendered'.
Perhaps other posters have information that would enable to do this with substantiated arguments.

I saw Yahoo's reporting of this, thought it was quite salacious, a possible feminist issue there?

allthegoodnamesweretaken Wed 29-Aug-12 12:06:26

Yes I agree it's a human rights issue. I shouldn't have posted it here but I misunderstood the term 'strip searched' and believed that the women had been subject to forceful internal examinations of their vaginas. This is why I thought it was a feminist issue.

Uppercut Wed 29-Aug-12 12:14:58

Substantiated arguments would be nice. Tropes and anecdotes will be more likely.

That aside, which specific sentences of Yahoo's reporting did you find "salacious"?

StewieGriffinsMom Wed 29-Aug-12 12:33:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Uppercut Wed 29-Aug-12 13:07:12

"It is a feminist issue. Feminism is a political theory. Everything can be analysed from a feminist POV. That's kinda the point."

Applying a gender-based political theory to things that patently have nothing to do with gender in practice is asinine, unless of course you can prove there is a causative link between A and B. Otherwise the design of ball-bearings, how much you feed your pet hamster, and annual rainfall levels over the mid-Pacific become 'feminist issues'.

In that context feminist theory becomes a joke.

"If the Chief Inspector of the Prisons deems these "unacceptable", then he damn well should be doing something to stop them by targeting the men who are assaulting the prisoners in this manner. Whilst he's at it, he could also have a think about the rate of rapes perpetrated by guards in prisons."

She was strip searched, 'assaulted', by men? Where does it say that?

Your comment about rape is irrelevant to the issue in this thread. She was strip-searched, not raped.

Whatmeworry Wed 29-Aug-12 13:19:12

If the Chief Inspector of the Prisons deems these "unacceptable", then he damn well should be doing something to stop them by targeting the men who are assaulting the prisoners in this manner

Aren't strip searches in prison always done by women guards?

mayorquimby Wed 29-Aug-12 13:32:22

Anyone know what happens to men in prison who refuse a strip search?

"targeting the men who are assaulting the prisoners in this manner"

How do you know the gender of the guards performing this in a female prison?

londonone Wed 29-Aug-12 13:35:22

My guess would be that the strip searches are carried out by women officers. Also cavity searches of both sexes take place, due to the fact that prisoners of both sexes consider various orifices to be appropriate places to secrete items such as drugs and phones. It is standard for prisoners to be strip searched on entry to prison, it is my understanding that these searches are carried out by officers who are the same sex as the prisoner

allthegoodnamesweretaken Wed 29-Aug-12 13:42:54

If the prisoners were restrained and forcibly examined internally, then I would consider this sexual assault no matter the sex of the person doing the examination.

mayorquimby Wed 29-Aug-12 14:00:20

So would you ban cavity searches entirely? Or how would you combat prisoners who declined?
Indefinite solitary confinement until they agree would be the only thing I could think of.

ithastobeNAICEham Wed 29-Aug-12 14:00:58

Just thought I would make a point here, in male prisons the same applies. If a prisoner refuses a search, their clothes will be cut off. This happens in all males prisons, except the privately funded ones (usually run by G4S)

It's not something new, nor is it in breech of their human rights. Plus it is for their own good, rather they be strip searched than take some home made dope and die.

You know what the rules are in prison and if you choose to go against them, you chose to be punished.

LastMangoInParis Wed 29-Aug-12 14:09:26

Yes, SGM, everything can be a feminist issue. But if you're really a feminist and not just someone who loves to make lots of loud and embarrassing noise, it kind of helps if you are in possession of and understand basic facts and principles before you start huffing and puffing.
Just saying.

allthegoodnamesweretaken Wed 29-Aug-12 14:09:52

I'm not sure how they work, so I could be wrong. But could those full body scanners not be used instead? (Like the ones used in airports)

I don't necessarily oppose cavity searches, though I would prefer a more dignified way of checking people if that was possible.

My experiences of dealing with prison inmates or being a prison inmate are zero, so I can't speak with any authority on the matter. But I believe that as human beings we all have the potential to be the worst, or the best of humanity, and just because prisoners have made bad decisions and commited offences, doesn't mean they are somehow less human. They still deserve to be treated with a reasonable ammount of dignity and respect.

The article suggests that the prison officers were not seeking more appropriate, non aggresstive methods of gaining the prisoners' permission first, just diving right in to restraining, cutting clothes and enforced strip searches. (I am still unclear whether or not this includes cavity searches)

LastMangoInParis Wed 29-Aug-12 14:11:13

And there seems to be a fair amount of confusion on this thread between strip searches and internal searches.

And SGM, investigation of rape of prisoners by guards (or anyone else) would be completely separate to looking at proportionality WRT procedure.

Viviennemary Wed 29-Aug-12 14:14:23

What about at airports. People get searched there. Sorry no sympathy here.

unhombre Wed 29-Aug-12 14:15:31

Despite posters with over-active imaginations (or just problems with reading), this isn't a feminist issue, and neither is it a matter of male violence, or rape. There is a need to ensure certain provisions/rules are maintained in a highly charged environment like a prison.

Margerykemp Wed 29-Aug-12 14:21:25

That is awful!

LastMangoInParis Wed 29-Aug-12 14:22:32

I would be cautious about saying it isn't a feminist issue as I agree with SGM that anything is potentially a feminist issue, and I think that WRT institutions such as prisons, designed by men, for men, this is particularly important.

Margerykemp Wed 29-Aug-12 14:22:40

If it involves women it is a feminist issue. End of.

LastMangoInParis Wed 29-Aug-12 14:23:51

How is it a feminist issue, though, Margery?

Margerykemp Wed 29-Aug-12 14:29:31

All issues that involve women are feminist issues. It's really quite simple.

LastMangoInParis Wed 29-Aug-12 14:31:51

Uppercut - sorry, I only just saw your question.

The Yahoo page I saw has a headline which just says:
Cutting off women's clothes 'unacceptable'

- which just seems creepy, odd, beside the point and erm... salacious, to me.

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