C.D.Ill.: Prison strip searches are always permitted, unless done unreasonably

Inmates seen naked in prison is not a constitutional claim unless it was all done in an unreasonable manner. The limited facts here fail to show that. Danuk v. Downey, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 45383 (C.D. Ill. Mar. 11, 2021):

Here, Plaintiff has alleged that all of the inmates in the cell block were subject to the strip search, consistent with the Fourth Amendment standard applied in the cited cases. As the search itself does not appear to have been unreasonable, the Court considers whether Plaintiff has pled that it was conducted in an unreasonable manner, so as to violate the Fourth Amendment. “[T]he Fourth Amendment does not prohibit all searches, only unreasonable ones.” Brown, 965 F.3d at 538. In considering the reasonableness of a search the court is to consider “the scope of the particular intrusion, the manner in which it is conducted, the justification for initiating it, and the place in which it is conducted.” Hulett, 969 F.3d at 779.

In the case at hand, detainees were viewed nude in the showers, rather than a common area. While there were officers present, there are no allegations that other, extraneous personnel were there or that the detainees were insulted or reviled. It is not clear even, that detainees were able to observe each other while nude. In addition, the search was merely a visual one with no intrusion into the body. See Florence, 566 U.S. at 339 (finding bodily cavity search of detainees constitutional).

Here, Plaintiff Danuk has failed to successfully plead either that the strip search was unreasonable where all of the inmates on the cell block were subjected to it, or that it was conducted in an unreasonable manner. The complaint will be dismissed and Plaintiff Danuk will be given an opportunity to replead in the event that he can successfully state a Fourth Amendment claim.

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