Effect of Strip-Searches

The effects of strip-searches are significant and varied. They have the capacity to trigger traumatic memories of prisoners, with 45% of women in prison reporting that they experienced abuse by a partner the year prior to incarceration, and 49% of all female prisoners’ victims of some form of child abuse. Additionally, strip-searches exacerbate the disproportionate power of the state over prisoners, resulting in the immediate reduction of 

dignity of any relationship between prison guard and prisoner. An example of this is women being asked to remove their sanitary products in these searches. Further, for women subject to a strip-search, the involuntary response of victims of abuse can be to shut down, become immobile, or refuse to be searched at all. This can be interpreted as a form of retaliation, subsequently resulting as a prison offence which carries penalisations and hinders a prisoner’s chances for parole. On a broader scale, strip-searches at music festivals and in public have been unlawfully conducted with a lack of privacy provided, degrading and inappropriate comments made by officers, and the search of minors without a guardian present.

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