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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

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REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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