PrisoninEuropeOverviewandtrends.pdf

Physical controls are certainly the main security

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Physical controls are certainly the main security measure used in the prisons that are analysed in the National reports. These controls can be done at every moment, especially after some activities (such as working activities, recreational activities, educational courses, but also after meetings with family members, friends, volunteers etc.). CORPORAL CONTROL SECURITY
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European Prison Observatory Prison in Europe: overview and trends 34 Physical controls are various and can be executed on different invasiveness levels: 1. The first is the common physical control, touching various parts of the body of the searched. The aim of this security measure is to detect if the subject hides illegal objects. 2. The second is strip - searching: prisoners must take off their clothes, keeping only their underwear on. 3. The third is the most invasive: an x - ray exam and the control of the oral, anal and vaginal cavities. Physical controls and strip-searches are made by prison officers of the same gender of the person searched (prisoners or visitors). In France the internal physical search is occasional and can be done only on the decision of the judge (for palpation and strip-search the decision of the director of the prison is sufficient). In Greece, after 2011, vaginal searches are recorded in a Vaginal Search Register with the name of the doctor who conducts the search, the reasons which justify it, the date and time of the search and explicit reference to the public prosecutor's order, on the basis of which it is conducted. In Eleona- Thiva (Greece) women’s prison such a search is conducted only with the prisoner’s consent and only after a positive drug detection test. Cell searches generally happen without warning and when the prisoners are not inside their cells. The main aim of these controls is to verify the presence/absence of objects forbidden inside the prison. Usually, findings of these searches are drugs, alcohol, weapons (that can be used to assault prison officers or other detainees) or other instruments that can be used to escape. As we have seen earlier, even visitors (such as family members, volunteers, teachers, legal representatives, social workers etc.) can be searched by the prison officers. For this reason the European Prison Rules underline that: “The obligation to protect security and safety shall be balanced against the privacy of visitors” (57.9). All the national reports highlighted that everyone should be searched if s/he wants to enter prison. Even in this case the typologies of control are various and present a wide degree of invasiveness. The most common type of control is the metal detector. Also physical controls are often used to prevent visitors to bring inside the prison forbidden objects. In some cases visitors could be strip-searched.
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