Strip-Searches of Male Prisoners by Female Guards OK'd by 9th Circuit Court; Maricopa County Jail Inmate Sued

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byrd charles inmate.jpg
Image: Arizona Department of Corrections
Charles Byrd

A former Maricopa County jail inmate who was stripped to his underwear and felt up by a female guard-in-training during a search did not have his rights violated, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled.

Charles Byrd, who was convicted of trafficking in stolen goods, was in the Durango Jail in 2004 when a mass search of inmates was conducted. According to the San Francisco Chronicle:

A female cadet from a training academy pulled out his waistband, patted down his groin through the shorts and felt his buttocks to check for contraband, the court said. The woman said the search had lasted no more than 20 seconds, while Byrd estimated one minute.

An online article in AmLaw Daily says Byrd had been a victim of sexual abuse in his childhood. Jarrett Green, a lawyer with the firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom took the case pro bono.

Green says he may ask for a rehearing in the case.

Byrd is scheduled to be released from prison on October 30, according to Department of Corrections records.

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I'm very concerned about the basic human rights that I feel are being violated in jails and prisons when female guards are assigned to male units and male guards are assigned to female units. I think this is an outrageous violation. There are female guards in county jails in Idaho who watch male inmates shower and and changed their clothes in their cells. There is something very wrong about this practice in our jail and prison systems in the United States. Yes, human beings are sentenced to prison because of a law that they have broken and receive punishment by being sentenced to time in jail or prison and they do loose certain rights. However, our justice system is GREATLY in need of review and change when basic human rights of privacy of ones naked body is blatantly, completely violated by our justice system. Each individual should have the right no matter what their situation is to not be raped visually by the other sex in a shower or when changing clothes!!! Those who allow this kind of practice to go on are committing a terrible injustice to human matter kind of situation that human in presently in...whether incarcerated or not!!!Colleen


I don't know maybe it's a guy thing, but I would MUCH rather have a female prison guard strip searching me than some other guy. But I do agree that women prisoners should be protected from male guards.

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