Push to ban strip searches in custody for children, replace with body scanning


Tasmanian mother Sarah knows exactly the kind of trauma that can be caused to children who are strip searched in custody.

Her teenage son has been searched numerous times.

“It causes shocking anxiety for him and for me. It’s horrible,” she said.

Sarah, who can’t be identified for legal reasons, said she and her son had made complaints.

“Even though, yes, they may have done the wrong thing to be going there [reception prison], he’s still a child, he’s still my child.”

She said in one instance, an apology had been issued to her son from the Director of Prisons, after a review of one search at the Hobart Reception Prison found procedures were “not fully complied with” and may have caused him “distress and confusion”.

The Commissioner for Children and Young People in Tasmania, Leanne McLean, described strip searching of children as “extremely undignified”.

“If you put yourself in the shoes of a child in that position, it would be an awful process,” Ms McLean said.

Children’s commissioner Leanne McLean says strip searching children can’t be justified.(Supplied)

Last year, Ms McLean called for the routine strip-searching of children in custody to end.

“As a routine practice, it can’t be justified. That is the advice I gave the Government. And the Government have accepted that advice,” she said.

She said following operational changes, including the introduction of a risk assessment process, the number of children strip searched at both the Hobart and Launceston Reception Prisons had reduced significantly.

Where, previously, almost all young people were strip-searched, between July 1, 2019, and the end of February 2020, that had dropped to about 35 per cent, or about 70 children.

Those children were subjected to either a “full personal search”, in which the child removes half their clothes at a time, and is required to bend at the waist and part their buttocks, or a “modified personal search”, in which the buttocks inspection is not required.

“I remain concerned at the numbers of children continuing to be strip searched, and will continue to monitor the effect of the changes in practice and policy and the effect of the proposed legislative reforms,” Ms McLean said.

Aboriginal children over-represented in searches

Despite making up 4.6 per cent of the Tasmanian population, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people made up 21 per cent of the 199 young people strip searched.

Michael Mansell, from the Aboriginal Land Council, said police were still using discretion in who they searched.

“We need to change the law and the Parliament needs to legislate to prevent police and custodial officers from strip searching children, and unless that legislation is in place nothing’s going to change,” Mr Mansell said.

Tasmanian Aboriginal lawyer Michael Mansell in office.
Tasmanian Aboriginal lawyer Michael Mansell wants the law changed to ban strip searching children.(ABC News: Damian McIntyre)

“The Parliament needs to take that discretion away, and make a statement saying this is forbidden.”

Of the nine recommendations Ms McLean made regarding the strip-searching of children in custody last year, the Government has accepted six, and three “in-principle”.

In a statement, the Attorney-General Elise Archer said the Government would consult on draft legislation later this year to address the recommendations.

“We remain committed to implementing any measures that will ensure the dignity and self-respect of children and young people in the custodial process.”

Rodney Dillon is the Aboriginal advisor to Amnesty International, and said technology like that used in airport screening should be replacing strip searches.

 Aboriginal elder and former Tasmanian ATSIC Commissioner Rodney Dillon
Rodney Dillon believes scanning technology will minimise trauma for children.(ABC News: Sam Ikin)

“This is only about money and we should invest in the appropriate machines so we can have this done with the least amount of privacy invaded.”

A spokeswoman said the Department of Justice was considering electronic security as part of a broader upgrade of technology, and would continue to explore technologies that might offer an appropriate and effective alternative to personal searches.

Tasmania, along with other states and territories, is looking at whether the age of criminal responsibility should be raised.

Both Mr Dillon and Ms McLean would like it raised from 10 to 14.

But Ms McLean said that could only happen once Tasmania had a supportive and therapeutic youth justice system.



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Push to ban strip searches for children, replace with body scanning


Tasmanian mother Sarah knows exactly the kind of trauma that can be caused to children who are strip searched in custody.

Her teenage son has been searched numerous times.

“It causes shocking anxiety for him and for me. It’s horrible,” she said.

Sarah, who can’t be identified for legal reasons, said she and her son had made complaints.

“Even though, yes, they may have done the wrong thing to be going there [reception prison], he’s still a child, he’s still my child.”

She said in one instance, an apology had been issued to her son from the Director of Prisons, after a review of one search at the Hobart Reception Prison found procedures were “not fully complied with” and may have caused him “distress and confusion”.

The Commissioner for Children and Young People in Tasmania, Leanne McLean, described strip searching of children as “extremely undignified”.

“If you put yourself in the shoes of a child in that position, it would be an awful process,” Ms McLean said.

Children’s commissioner Leanne McLean says strip searching children can’t be justified.(Supplied)

Last year, Ms McLean called for the routine strip-searching of children in custody to end.

“As a routine practice, it can’t be justified. That is the advice I gave the Government. And the Government have accepted that advice,” she said.

She said following operational changes, including the introduction of a risk assessment process, the number of children strip searched at both the Hobart and Launceston Reception Prisons had reduced significantly.

Where, previously, almost all young people were strip-searched, between July 1, 2019, and the end of February 2020, that had dropped to about 35 per cent, or about 70 children.

Those children were subjected to either a “full personal search”, in which the child removes half their clothes at a time, and is required to bend at the waist and part their buttocks, or a “modified personal search”, in which the buttocks inspection is not required.

“I remain concerned at the numbers of children continuing to be strip searched, and will continue to monitor the effect of the changes in practice and policy and the effect of the proposed legislative reforms,” Ms McLean said.

Aboriginal children over-represented in searches

Despite making up 4.6 per cent of the Tasmanian population, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people made up 21 per cent of the 199 young people strip searched.

Michael Mansell, from the Aboriginal Land Council, said police were still using discretion in who they searched.

“We need to change the law and the Parliament needs to legislate to prevent police and custodial officers from strip searching children, and unless that legislation is in place nothing’s going to change,” Mr Mansell said.

Tasmanian Aboriginal lawyer Michael Mansell in office.
Tasmanian Aboriginal lawyer Michael Mansell wants the law changed to ban strip searching children.(ABC News: Damian McIntyre)

“The Parliament needs to take that discretion away, and make a statement saying this is forbidden.”

Of the nine recommendations Ms McLean made regarding the strip-searching of children in custody last year, the Government has accepted six, and three “in-principle”.

In a statement, the Attorney-General Elise Archer said the Government would consult on draft legislation later this year to address the recommendations.

“We remain committed to implementing any measures that will ensure the dignity and self-respect of children and young people in the custodial process.”

Rodney Dillon is the Aboriginal advisor to Amnesty International, and said technology like that used in airport screening should be replacing strip searches.

 Aboriginal elder and former Tasmanian ATSIC Commissioner Rodney Dillon
Rodney Dillon believes scanning technology will minimise trauma for children.(ABC News: Sam Ikin)

“This is only about money and we should invest in the appropriate machines so we can have this done with the least amount of privacy invaded.”

A spokeswoman said the Department of Justice was considering electronic security as part of a broader upgrade of technology, and would continue to explore technologies that might offer an appropriate and effective alternative to personal searches.

Tasmania, along with other states and territories, is looking at whether the age of criminal responsibility should be raised.

Both Mr Dillon and Ms McLean would like it raised from 10 to 14.

But Ms McLean said that could only happen once Tasmania had a supportive and therapeutic youth justice system.



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Coronavirus: Strip club offers drive-thru service during US lockdown | US News


A strip club in Portland, Oregon, has found a novel way to stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Lucky Devil Lounge transformed itself into Lucky Devil Eats, which has dancers deliver food, and Food 2 Go-Go, a drive-up service where takeout orders come with an in-car experience that includes performances, music and lights under canopies.

After closing in March under stay-at-home orders, owner Shon Boulden decided on 17 March to transform the business.

Image:
Tips are collected in a bucket at the drive-thru strip club

“I was like, ‘OK, well let’s keep the kitchen open,'” he said. “Let’s keep the cooks working at least, and let’s open up the kitchen to food deliveries.”

Almost overnight, Lucky Devil put about a dozen of its employees back to work. They wear masks and gloves and get their temperatures taken each day they’re at work.

“When quarantine shutdowns started happening, I was very anxious about my future and my financial security with my family,” said one dancer, Elle Stranger. “I am the sole caregiver for my small family, but I was lucky. I’ve been really lucky to pivot.”

The operation evolved to include takeout, with dancers entertaining customers as they drive – slowly – through the lounge’s disco-lit car park before getting their food to go.

“It feels really, really good to socialise, even from a distance,” Ms Stranger said.

Mr Bouldon said he wanted to replicate some of the club’s indoor experience without being too lewd.

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“There’s no nudity,” Mr Boulden said. “We wanted people to be able to take photos and videos and share this story on their [Instagram] Stories, too, because it’s just going to be a fun thing.”

Lucky Devil is ineligible for federal coronavirus relief because it’s an adult business, he said, but he found a way to keep it going.

“The main service that we’re providing with this food delivery is a little bit of fun, a little bit of hope, and a little bit of just entertainment at our doorstep,” Mr Bouldon said.



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