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TDCJ Policy for Female Guards Strip Searching Male Prisoners Judicially Monitored

Texas federal prisoner Albert Aranda and approximately 100 other prisoners filed suit against the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) in 1989. They alleged constitutional violations for male prisoners being strip searched by female guards. The court ordered changes to the policy and awarded $5,000 in attorney's fees.

After the initial action was filed, numerous additional complaints were filed. The district court ordered that all complaints be submitted only by the appointed counsel in class-action form. The suit alleged violations of the prisoners’ right to privacy and claimed that the female guards' presence in all-male facilities posed a threat to the guards and prisoners who needed protection. The suit further claimed that a 1988 consent decree required female guards to be placed in "no-contact positions" when employed in male facilities.

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas at Houston held that federal statutes and the U.S. Constitution required the continued hiring of female guards, but ordered that the TDCJ improve its policies regarding female-on-male searches. The court further ordered the TDCJ to submit the policy changes to the court along with annual reports. See: Aranda v. Lynaugh, U.S.D.C. (SD Tex.), Case No. 4:89-cv-00277 (July 27, 1993).

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Related legal case

Aranda v. Lynaugh