End DWCF's 'labia lift' search policy

“how can I be a rape ‘survivor’ if I have to continue to go through the motions over and over? I am being Raped Again!! How many times should I have to go through this? I haven’t survived shit! I am still suffering! If I refuse to do this procedure, I will be written up... This refusal would cost me the apartment program and my 8-year-old son would not be able to stay the night with me ever again.” --letter from inmate in DWCF In January of 2010, the Denver Women's Correctional Facility (DWCF) implemented a new search procedure called the 'labia lift.' The following is a description given by an inmate that entails what the strip search includes:"To strip naked, show the inside of your mouth, shake out your hair, lift your breasts, feet and fat rolls, turn away from the officer, grab and spread your butt cheeks, bend over and cough hard enough to flex, then relax the muscles inside your vagina has been the “norm” and expected strip search... Female inmates are now to spread the labia, lift the hood and expose the clitoris. This step has been titled the “labia lift.” The inmate may be asked to do this while bending over after she has coughed, or to turn around and lift one leg onto a chair to be able to “widen” herself more, or to sit (on a toilet or a chair NAKED) and spread herself or to stand up and move her feet apart, leaning her shoulders back and then spread her labia." If the strip search wasn't humiliating enough, adding the labia lift has caused more emotional stress for many inmates--especially those with past sexual abuse and trauma. Twelve inmates wrote letters to press explaining the labia lift in an effort to put pressure on the Colorado Department of Corrections (DOC) to stop this type of search. The inmates are aware of the necessity of strip searches in prison, however adding the labia lift as a standard part of the search without suspicions of smuggling anything has caused PTSD symptoms in many women who are sexual abuse survivors. Because the strip search is required for all visitations (including attorneys), many women have refused visitation in an effort to avoid being searched. It's a hard decision to make because they want to stay in contact with their families and having familial support while in prison lessens the rates of recidivism, but many can't go through this search without having flashbacks of their sexual attacks and attackers. In addition to the scant media attention this issue has gotten (see Boulder Weekly July 15, 2010, Denver News May 24, 2010 and various blogs), change.org has a petition requesting this procedure no longer be used and on August 23th, the ACLU wrote a letter to Ari Zavaras, executive director of the DOC, asking the DOC to halt these types of searches. There has yet to be a response from Zavaras regarding their request. For more information, to read ACLU's letter, or to sign the petition, visit the links below. http://www.aclu.org/files/assets... http://womensrights.change.org/b...

all i can say right now is

all i can say right now is that i want to see something done about this and hopefully have it stopped. i'm trying to do what i can, which is limited since i'm in grand junction, so if anyone has any leads on groups, individuals, etc. interested in doing something email gjredpill@hotmail.com.

Yes, this is rape!

This is horrifying, even just to read about it.  There is no justification, especially if the person does not have a past history of smuggling.  It is a form of torture, and since it impairs a prisoner's ability to have visits, it violates other rights as well.

This abuse of women definitely needs to stop.  Prison employees should find some other way to get their kicks (on their own time, away from the workplace).

Sex Change

IF any person want to change sex to wait at least one year before undergoing a sex change. Sex changes are outlawed completely before the age of 18, and for those aged 18 to 20 parental consent must be obtained.