Searching Visitors in Correctional Facilities
Gordon Graham here with Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Today’s tip is for our colleagues who work in correctional facilities. Let’s talk about searching visitors.
In-person visits from family and friends are one of the known ways contraband enters our supposedly secure facilities.
We regularly employ searches inside the facility. From the less-invasive pat-down search to a modified strip search and even a very intrusive body cavity search. If you can imagine a way to hide contraband on the human body, we have seen it and we know how to find it. But if we find it on an inmate inside the secure facility, it begs the question: How did it get there?
Please consider the visitor. In-person visits from family and friends are one of the known ways contraband enters our supposedly secure facilities.
Since visitors are not inmates or convicts, it seems intrusive to treat them like they are, right? Of course. Nonetheless, we should use every tool at our disposal to shut down this lane of the contraband highway.
Visitors may object that intrusive searches are unfair or somehow violate their rights. But remember that each and every visitor has the right to reconsider before entering the facility. We are looking for that rare offender who intends to defeat our security measures. But it only works if we consider every visitor a potential violator.
We inform visitors that entry into our correctional facility for a visit requires that they be subjected to a search at any time. This includes their person, parcels, vehicles, and yes, even their children.
Search protocols and limitations are well defined in policy and law. I’m not proposing that you deviate from that. Again, very few visitors are trying to sneak in contraband and everyone is deserving of your respect.
I am saying this and it’s so important: Know your policy, know the law, use the best techniques. Be fair, be firm, be consistent and above all, be thorough.
That’s today’s Tip from Lexipol. Gordon Graham signing off.