Purpose of Strip-Searches

Strip-searches are carried out for the purpose of identifying and seizing contraband, and are also conducted based on the belief that strip searches increase security. However, there is no empirical evidence to support the effectiveness of strip-searches in finding contraband. For example, an examination of 6 months of strip-searches in Victorian women’s prisons found just 7 items of contraband out of 6,200 searches. Though, four of these items were tobacco related products, one was chewing gum, and two were unidentifiable and inconclusive. Additionally, as identified by Steven Caruana (OPCAT Network Coordinator), the belief that strip searches increase security is false and misguided and often endangers them, as seen through 10 correctional officers surveyed in Western Australia reporting that they have been assaulted while conducting strip-searches. 

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