Politics

Supreme Court Allows Strip Searches for Even Minor Offenses

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that strip searches for even minor offenses can be allowed before a person is admitted into a jail.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, considered the "swing vote" on the court, joined the conservatives this time for the five-four vote. Writing for the majority, Kennedy said courts are in no position to doubt the motives of corrections officials who have to worry about contraband being smuggled into jails. So now,

every detainee who will be admitted to the general population may be required to undergo a close visual inspection while undressed.

The minority said strip searches should only be used when there is a strong suspicion that something is amiss, calling them “a serious affront to human dignity and to individual privacy.”

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The case comes from an incident in which a New Jersey man was arrested on an outstanding warrant for failure to pay a fine. The man was held for a week in two jails where he was strip searched twice.