Recently the Canadian Press reported : “Court certifies class-action suit alleging rampant illegal strip searches in prisons.
While laws currently dictate that strip searches should be limited to instances when an inmate might have had access to drugs or other contraband, the lawsuit alleges they were far more frequent, and regularly occurred when inmates left prison buildings or secure areas, entered family visitation rooms or were transferred to different facilities. The Supreme Court has condemned the practice, however, saying in a 2001 ruling that searches are “one of the most extreme exercises of police power” and are inherently “humiliating and degrading.” “Prisoners suffer. And eventually, society suffers, when prisoners come out of prison and they’ve been traumatized.”
To those on the Outside strip searches would appear to be dehumanizing, traumatizing and degrading and so they are to ordinary people. But our correctional clients are not ordinary people. Many are as far away as they can be from the ordinary the citizens who are safely looking in at their world from the Outside and have no clear idea and most certainly no direct experience of what the real world inside a prison is like. People on the Outside are trying to weigh the values of law-abiding citizens and apply them to those who are completely and, in every way, contrary to those values by virtue of their crimes and they will stop at nothing to get what they want.
Cons smuggle contraband. It’s been done since the beginnings of incarceration. Some of that contraband is used to kill other inmates and staff members. Much of their contraband consists of drugs and money. Drugs and money are the main cause of prison debt. Prison debt is the main reason that cons run for the hole. Prison debt is what gets inmates killed. The drugs and money are easily concealed on their bodies and are trafficked throughout the prison. Weapons are trafficked the same way not only within the prison but along with them on external escorts in the community and are sometimes used to facilitate an escape from custody. This is not the world of the average law-abiding citizens and woke decision makers who may be shocked and appalled by the measures in place to detect and prevent the trafficking of contraband within the institutions. In my time strip searches were conducted when there are reasonable and probable grounds to do so. They are conducted when transfers take place, when there is an external escort and when the inmate is placed into segregation. They are conducted after a trailer visit where the drugs and money are hidden on or in their children and spouses.
This is a violent and frightening arena where some methods used to control it may not appear necessary or humane to those who have never experienced it. So, they seek to condemn the methods as being “inherently “humiliating and degrading.” “Prisoners suffer. And eventually, society suffers, when prisoners come out of prison and they’ve been traumatized.” The average person would be traumatized being subjected to a strip search. But the average person does not commit crimes so horrible that they must be locked up to protect our society from their actions. When even being behind bars has no effect upon their intention to cause further harm to those around them. Serious measures must be taken to control those actions.
Canada makes our prisons a nice place to be compared to those of other countries. Some aspects of it are not so nice yet are necessary for the good order of the institutions. Necessary so that the overdoses, suicides, assaults, extortion, murder, escapes, hostage takings and riots that hinge upon the trafficking of contraband within the jail are restrained.