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CAEFS campaign to End Strip Searches

By Laurel McBride
June 27, 2019

On May 10, 2019, Elizabeth Fry Societies across Canada joined together to demand that the government #EndStripSearching in women’s prisons.

As they stated, “Every day in prisons across Canada women are forced to strip naked after they visit with their children, after they have gone to work, or to a drumming circle.” The vast majority of women in prison have been physically and/or sexually assaulted in their lifetime [OCI 2011-2012] and the act of strip searching can be seen as emulating this abuse. As articulated in the Supreme Court of Canada R v. Golden [2001] decision, “Strip searches are inherently humiliating and degrading for detainees regardless of the manner in which they are carried out and for this reason they cannot be carried out simply as a matter of routine policy.” The UN Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners Bankok Rules states that, “Alternative screening methods, such as scans, shall be developed to replace strip searches and invasive body searches, in order to avoid the harmful psychological and possible physical impact of invasive body searches [Rule 20].”

And so, Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies boldly declares that “The Correctional Service of Canada would have us believe that strip searches are necessary for the safety and security of prisons and yet they regularly uncover little if any ‘contraband’; the benefits to security are minimal, but the harms to women are substantial.”

Listen here to some of the formerly incarcerated women who are at the forefront of the campaign to #EndStripSearching

Read and share CAEFS’ recent article published in VICE with your network.

Take action by sending a letter to your MP.

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