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Rhode Island “cracks” down on misdemeanors

Mar. 28, 2000

One night last December, a Rhode Island woman skidded on a patch of black ice and crashed her car near Providence. The next thing she knew, she was in the hallway of a state prison, being ordered to strip naked and spread her butt cheeks. The police had hauled her in for a seven-year-old overdue court fine of $85.

Barring the possibility that she had gone to extraordinary lengths to hide her overdue payment, the woman’s relatively petty offense would hardly seem to warrant such a thorough body search. But in Rhode Island’s Adult Correctional Institutions, standard policy is that everyone who is brought in, regardless of the reason, is strip-searched, the PROVIDENCE PHOENIX reports. Despite federal court decisions banning blanket strip-search policies, ACI has done little to stem its strip-happy ways. State and ACI officials do not seem to be budging on the issue, despite heavy pressure from civil-rights groups and lawyers.

“They’ve feigned ignorance of all the court decisions and they’ve done absolutely nothing,” says Newport lawyer Thomas Kelly, who is forming a team of lawyers to intensify his challenge to ACI’s policy. He estimates that about 6,000 people who were arrested for misdemeanors have been illegally strip-searched at ACI during the last three years.

Read the PROVIDENCE PHOENIX story here.

JG

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Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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