Until the late 1970s, it was a foregone conclusion that jail officers could strip search all prisoners to further the security of the jail and the safety of staff and prisoners. Then in 1977, a federal District Court in New York ruled that visual body-cavity searches of prisoners in a federal pretrial detention facility were unconstitutional “absent probable cause to believe that the inmate is concealing contraband.”(1) Although the fact seems to have been lost on judges who ruled in later cases that have restricted strip searches of arrestees at booking, the district court actually “upheld the strip search procedure but prohibited [only] the body cavity searches, absent probable cause . . . .”
Part I: The Foundation for an Effective Discipline System
Editor’s Note: This article is the first in a series discussing prisoner discipline. Part I,below,will provide hearing officers and other corrections officials with an overview of prisoner discipline and the basic principles for establishing the foundation for an effective and constitutional system for administering prisoner discipline.