MoJo Must Reads

Fight disinformation. Get a daily recap of the facts that matter. Sign up for the free Mother Jones newsletter.


_
Rhode Island “cracks” down on misdemeanors

Mar. 28, 2000

One night last December, a Rhode Island woman skidded on a patch of black ice and crashed her car near Providence. The next thing she knew, she was in the hallway of a state prison, being ordered to strip naked and spread her butt cheeks. The police had hauled her in for a seven-year-old overdue court fine of $85.

Barring the possibility that she had gone to extraordinary lengths to hide her overdue payment, the woman’s relatively petty offense would hardly seem to warrant such a thorough body search. But in Rhode Island’s Adult Correctional Institutions, standard policy is that everyone who is brought in, regardless of the reason, is strip-searched, the PROVIDENCE PHOENIX reports. Despite federal court decisions banning blanket strip-search policies, ACI has done little to stem its strip-happy ways. State and ACI officials do not seem to be budging on the issue, despite heavy pressure from civil-rights groups and lawyers.

“They’ve feigned ignorance of all the court decisions and they’ve done absolutely nothing,” says Newport lawyer Thomas Kelly, who is forming a team of lawyers to intensify his challenge to ACI’s policy. He estimates that about 6,000 people who were arrested for misdemeanors have been illegally strip-searched at ACI during the last three years.

Read the PROVIDENCE PHOENIX story here.

JG

ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Or at least we hope. It’s fall fundraising time, and we’re trying to raise $250,000 to help fund Mother Jones’ journalism during a shorter than normal three-week push.

If you’re reading this, a fundraising pitch at the bottom of an article, you must find our team’s reporting valuable and we hope you’ll consider supporting it with a donation of any amount right now if you can.

It’s really that simple. But if you’d like to read a bit more, our membership lead, Brian Hiatt, has a post for you highlighting some of our newsroom's impressive, impactful work of late—including two big investigations in just one day and covering voting rights the way it needs to be done—that we hope you'll agree is worth supporting.

payment methods

ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Or at least we hope. It’s fall fundraising time, and we’re trying to raise $250,000 to help fund Mother Jones’ journalism during a shorter than normal three-week push.

If you’re reading this, a fundraising pitch at the bottom of an article, you must find our team’s reporting valuable and we hope you’ll consider supporting it with a donation of any amount right now if you can.

It’s really that simple. But if you’d like to read a bit more, our membership lead, Brian Hiatt, has a post for you highlighting some of our newsroom's impressive, impactful work of late—including two big investigations in just one day and covering voting rights the way it needs to be done—that we hope you’ll agree is worth supporting.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate