Gwen Graham vows to end prison visitor strip searches

prison reform

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham on Wednesday urged Gov. Rick Scott to put an end to visitor strip searches at state prisons.

“Let’s call this what it is: Sexual harassment,” Graham said in an email. “It needs to end now. We can make prisons safer without humiliating women who are just trying to visit their family members. Even former corrections officials say this is a bad idea.

“I’m calling on Governor Rick Scott to immediately order the Department of Corrections to stop this assault and apply evidence-based policies to reduce crime in Florida’s prisons.

“If Scott doesn’t put an end to this now, I will stop it on my first day as governor.”

The practice was detailed in a recent article published in The Florida Times-Union. Ben Conarck’s article found women visiting inmates at prisons in northeast Florida were routinely being subjected to strip searches to get into the facility if they set off metal detectors, often due to underwire bras or other clothing.

The Florida Department of Corrections has called the strip searches “enhanced search procedures,” and said it was instituted to curb the influx of contraband such as drugs or cell phones in state prisons.

Women who decline the searches have their visitation privileges revoked.

The report found the practice was common among all facilities in Northeast Florida.

Before the policy was put in place last summer, corrections officers would use a wand to figure out what triggered metal detectors.

Drew Wilson

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.


  • Dumb Priorities

    March 21, 2018 at 4:58 pm


    Aren’t there more critical things to do on your “first day”? If not, it is yet another reason not to vote for you.

    Come on, Gwen. Come on.

  • Cheryl

    March 22, 2018 at 9:31 pm

    Are you kidding me? Strip searches are not routine and the only reason that searches are performed at all is to stop the flow of drugs, weapons, cell phones, etc., from entering the institution. Perhaps you should ask the department how many items of contraband are discovered during routine and strip searches. You are saying you will put the lives of staff and inmates in further harm’s way by doing this such a thing. Your father would have never entertained such an outrageous thing. And btw, a wand will not tell you what kind of contraband is being hidden.

Comments are closed.


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