Attorneys Must Now Remove Their Bras To See Their Clients in Jackson County Jail

New security measures at the Jackson County Detention Center in Kansas City aimed at reducing illegal drugs and contraband have caused controversy. This week, female attorney Laurie Snell complained that she was required to remove her underwire bra to pass a metal detector on her way to see a client.

After setting the alarm off, Ms. Snell removed her jewelry and glasses, but it still went off. Ms. Snell was required to remove her bra, place it in the bin, and pass through the metal detector. Once inside the jail, she had nowhere to put it back on, so she put it back on in the elevator on the way to see her client.

“People are Going Nuts”

The public’s criticism of the policy has reached the legislators. Jackson County Legislator Crystal Williams noted that something has to change because “people are going nuts.” Williams is still reviewing the new security policy, but stated that it is obvious that there is an “undue impact on women.” Williams stated that “There are a lot of women who use underwire bras. It seems unseemly that we are discussing this.”

Other Alternatives are Available

Legislator Tony Miller wondered whether different technology would help, such as using whole-body screeners that are now common at airports. At the very least, accommodations should be made for lawyers who visit clients in the jail. All attorneys have passed criminal background checks.

For now, no change is planned. But legislators are not likely to drop the issue. Chairwoman Theresa Galvin stated that “We need to come up with a better solution, because this is not good.”

It will be interesting to see if legislators address the public’s concern over the jail’s new policy requiring female attorneys to remove their bras to visit their clients. So far, no jail in Southwest Missouri has adopted a similar policy.

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