California prisons toughen screenings of visitors

Sep 24, 2014 5:01 PM by News Staff

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Starting next month, California will begin implementing one of the nation's toughest protocols for access to state prisons in an attempt to reduce the flow of illegal drugs to inmates.

Most of the procedures outlined Wednesday by state corrections officials will apply to both visitors and staff. They include airport-style hand swabs and drug-sniffing dogs.

Visitors also would be subject to strip searches if initial testing indicates they have been in contact with illicit drugs. That has raised alarm among inmate-advocacy groups, which say the procedures invade privacy and will discourage visitation.

Corrections officials say they are taking the steps to control a growing problem in California's 34 adult prisons. Last year, drug-sniffing dogs discovered 404 pounds of illicit drugs.

The new screening procedures will begin taking effect in mid-October.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


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