The Body Cavity Search in Prison


A body cavity search in prison must generally be performed by a licensed medical professional. At least in most instances, it cannot be performed by the jail guards or warden. Since the level of invasiveness is much greater than that of a pat down or basic strip procedure, it requires more protection for the inmate. Let’s take a look at what orifices are subject to this, along with some basic reasons they are performed. A body cavity search in prison is actually pretty serious, not a laughing matter.

Body Parts Included

When the prison or jail does a body cavity search, there are specific places they are going to look for contraband (virtually anything not allowed in the jail or prison). These are the places the medical staff will inspect for contraband.

Anus: This is the most common place where prisoners and inmates will hide contraband. While it may not seem appealing to think of this, it is a plain fact. As someone that has worked in a correctional facility for years, I can assure you it is not uncommon at all. Believe it or not, even food items are occasionally concealed in this manner.

Vagina: Females will conceal contraband in this cavity. This is why a body cavity search in prison on a female will include this body orifice.

Nostrils: While it may seem odd to look at the nostrils of an inmate when doing a body cavity search in prison, it is a place where small items can be lodged. The nasal passageways are deep enough to conceal small items, where they cannot be viewed by eyes alone.

Mouth: A basic scan of the mouth is not the same. Correctional staff can ask the inmate to open their mouth, raise their lips, cheek, or tongue. Medical staff will generally need to perform a more intrusive body cavity search in prison of the mouth.

Why It’s Done

One of the main threats to the safety and security of the correctional facility is the introduction of contraband. Since contraband can include drugs or weapons, it’s important for staff to attempt to keep contraband out of the jail. This is why body cavity searches in prion are done.

How It’s Done

A body cavity search in prison is performed in many different ways. While they may be performed manually, with the hand or fingers, they may also be performed by x-ray. This is common practice, since the fingers are only able to reach up so far. In the case of nostrils, the fingers may also cause damage or push the contraband further in the nasal openings. If the mouth is being inspected, it could be dangerous to place your fingers or hand near the teeth of the inmate.

What is Required

This will vary by state and facility. Some may require a warrant, but most do not. There must, however, be reasonable suspicion to believe the inmate in concealing contraband. They typically cannot be performed as routine. The requirements for a body cavity search in prison are generally not very restrictive.