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Criminal Justice

Jail Officer Who Ordered Defense Lawyers to Remove Bras Had a ‘Training Issue’

Posted Feb 10, 2011 8:44 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Prince George's County, Md., does not have a policy requiring female criminal defense lawyers and other jail visitors to remove their bras before going through a metal detector.

But one jail officer apparently wasn’t aware of the policy. Last weekend he ordered women to remove their bras because the metal underwires could set off a new metal detector, the Washington Post reports. Some lawyers refused and weren’t allowed to see their clients.

“It was a training issue,” explained Mary Lou McDonough, the director of the county’s Department of Corrections. She told the newspaper that the county jail has a new metal detector that can tell the difference between an underwire bra and metal contraband.

The newspaper polled other nearby jails and learned of a strict policy in the Maryland state prison system. Anyone who sets off a metal detector there will not be allowed inside. One woman who visits inmates in the state as part of her job keeps a sports bra in her car for the visits, the newspaper says.

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