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Petitioning California Governor

Stop Strip Searching My Mom

Maintaining contacts with family and friends is vitally important to a prisoner's rehabilitation.  Recently, the California prison system implemented a new screening program to stop the flow of drugs into the prisons, using notoriously unreliable ion scanners as well as dogs. Under this new "drug interdiction" program, prison visitors who test positive on ion scanning or are picked out by a dog must undergo a humiliating, intrusive strip search in order to have a contact visit with their loved one. If they refuse, they are forced to have three non-contact visits.  In contrast, prison employees, contractors, and volunteers are subject only to a pat-down if they test positive. Prison visitors (most of whom are among the most marginalized in our society--poor women of color) are singled out for this horrendous treatment because they do not have powerful unions to speak out on their behalf.  For fear of such treatment, many families and friends of prisoners will stop visiting, with negative effects on the rehabilitation of prisoners and consequently on society as a whole. Singling out visitors for strip searching must stop now!

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