Stop Degrading "Labia Lift" Searches in Colorado Prisons
  • Petitioned Ari Zavaras

This petition was delivered to:

Executive Director, Colorado Department of Corrections
Ari Zavaras

Stop Degrading "Labia Lift" Searches in Colorado Prisons

    1. Petition by

      <span>Change.org</span>

  1.  
  2.   
September 2010

Victory

After hundreds of Change.org members contacted the Colorado Department of Corrections, prisons in the state will no longer be conducting degrading "labia lift" strip searches. This practice, which dehumanized female inmates and could trigger PTSD for sexual assault survivors, was neither a necessary safety measure nor performed out of a suspicion that an inmate might be smuggling contraband.

VICTORY! Colorado prisons will no longer be engaging in degrading "labia lift" strip searches.

Female prisoners in Colorado are now forced to spread open their labia so that guards can peer into their genitals at close range. Does this strike anybody else as overkill?

Colorado already had an invasive policy of "bend over, squat, spread and cough" for anal cavity searches, but this new addition takes the standard prisoner strip search to a new level of humiliation and violation. This is especially troubling given that 80% of female prisoners have a history of sexual abuse and some suffer from PTSD as a result. Flashbacks can be triggered by being forced to lift their labia and sometimes clitoral hoods so that a guard can leer in from inches away with a flashlight beam. Prisoners who have tried to refuse compliance have been threatened with pepper spray.

This "degrading, gratuitous and unconstitutional" policy, in the words of the ACLU, is being used in searches where guards don't even have any suspicion that the prisoner is trying to hide contraband.

Tell Ari Zavaras, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Corrections, to rescind the new policy immediately.

Photo credit: paper or plastic?

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    1. Colorado Prisoners Forced to Spread Labia for Cavity Search

      Update: Victory! Colorado prisons will no longer be engaging in degrading "labia lift" strip searches.
      Female prisoners in Colorado are now forced to spread open their labia so that guards can peer into their genitals at close range. Does this strike...

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