Case Citation: Florence v. Board Of Chosen Freeholders of the County of Burlington (2012) Case
Parties: Albert W. Florence, Plaintiff / Appellant Board Of Chosen Freeholders of the County of Burlington,
Defendant / Appellee
Facts: In 2005, Albert W. Florence was stopped by a state trooper. After the routine check, the officer noticed an arrest warrant in the computer database. The reason for warrant was falling behind in fine rate payment. The appellant was taken in custody and transported to the Burlington County Detention Center. Six days later, he was transferred to the Essex County Correctional Facility. In both facilities, before admission, the correction officers conducted a strip-search, check for scars or gang tattoos, and shower with delousing agent on the appellant. He also had to open his mouth, lift tongue, lift genitals, and cough while squatting. His ears, nose, armpits, and hair were closely inspected. His clothes and personal belongings were examined. Next day, after further clarification of the arrest reason, the warrant turned out to be expired, and the appellant was released.
Issue: Should the inmates detained for the minor crimes be strip-searched before admitting, even when there is no reason to suspect that they carry any kind of contraband?
Holding: Yes. In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court of the United States held that the inmates detained for the minor crimes should be strip-searched before admitting, even when there is no reason to suspect that they carry any kind of contraband.
Reasoning: The court reasoned that jail safety is the main responsibility of the correction officials. Thus, they must possess the full powers to keep the order in detention centers. Weapons, drugs, and other prohibited items smuggled into jail population can put in danger lives of the facility personnel, inmates, and smuggling detainee himself. The court concluded that any regulation that can possibly violate constitutional rights can be upheld if penological interest of safety requires that. Thus, the admitted detainees can be required to expose their body cavities in order to discover and intercept illegal items and substances before they will be introduced into jail population.
For this method to be effective, it requires that all inmates, without exceptions, are examined. The search procedures are also conducted on visitors. Furthermore, inside the facilities the random cell searches are practiced even when there is no clear reason to expect that contraband is there. Strip-search is also a measure of preventing the spread of diseases, identifying inmate’s medical problems, and recognizing gang affiliation by examination of tattoos. The court also dismissed the appellant’s argument that the detained for the minor crimes should be exempt from inspection. Seriousness of the committed crime is not a factor that can define who can potentially carry contraband. Nonindictable offenders are often involved into smuggling illegal items and substances.
This argument is also practically inapplicable, because the admission officers do not have the access to detainees’ records; thus, they cannot know who …