Justices Approve Strip-Searches for Any Offense

The Supreme Court ruled yesterday by a 5-to-4 vote that any offense, no matter how minor, is grounds for a strip-search before admitting someone to jail.   Justice Anthony M. Kennedy along with the court’s conservative wing wrote that correctional officials must consider the possibility of smuggled weapons and drugs, as well as public health and gang affiliation information, therefore every person who will be admitted to the general population may be required to undergo a close visual inspection while undressed.  Officials need not have reason to suspect the presence of contraband. Recently appeals courts in Atlanta, San Francisco and Philadelphis have allowed searches for such minor offenses as violating a leash law, driving without a license and failing to pay child support.

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