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Ex-inmates win suit over strip searches

Monday, February 23, 2009
Chicago Tribune
by Tribune staff report

A federal judge ruled today in favor of several thousand former Cook County Jail inmates who claimed their rights were violated by being strip-searched in humiliating conditions, according to a news release from the attorney who filed the lawsuit.
The class-action lawsuit alleges that over a period of years, strip searches were conducted without regard to the seriousness of the crime and that bodily fluids were present during these searches for years.

The suit also alleges that guards used abusive language that included insults about anatomy, body odor and sexual orientation during the strip searches, according to the complaint.

U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly found the jail humiliated inmates, with group searches with up to 100 inmates at a time standing shoulder-to-shoulder in unsanitary conditions, according to the news release issued by attorney Michael Kanovitz, who filed the lawsuit.

The Cook County Sheriff's Department could not be reached for comment.


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