A Tennessee woman filed suit in federal court Thursday, alleging that corrections officers at a prison owned and operated by Corrections Corporation of America required her to expose her genitalia to officers so they could “verify” that she was menstruating after they spotted a feminine sanitary napkin in her pocket.
The lawsuit seeks to have CCA’s “strip-search policy” declared unconstitutional along with compensatory and punitive damages for the officers’ “unconscionable and callous regard” for the woman’s rights.
The woman, who was visiting an inmate at the prison at the time of the alleged incident, is only identified in the suit as Jane Doe. Her attorneys have also filed a motion that would allow her name to be disclosed to the court and the defendants, but kept from the public “because of the extremely humiliating and embarrassing nature” of the alleged incident. CCA, which has its headquarters in Nashville, is the nation’s largest for-profit prison company. The company currently runs six facilities in Tennessee and finalized contracts for one more last year.
CCA, Avril “Butch” Chapman — the warden of South Central Correctional Facility — and six other CCA employees are named in the suit (although their full names are not included as, according to the suit, the plaintiff does not know their complete names and would likely add them during discovery)
30. Defendants Garska and Herndon used their radios to call for a female correctional
31. Later, a female correctional officer, Defendant Qualls, arrived and asked Plaintiff,
“What’s going on?”
32. Plaintiff responded that she was on her period.
33. Defendant Qualls said, “Oh great,” in a sarcastic tone of voice, and immediately walked into a women’s restroom at SCCF.
34. Plaintiff entered the restroom, still asking what she was supposed to do.
35. Defendant Garska said, “Show me.”
36. Defendant Garska stood directly in front of Plaintiff, and Defendant Qualls stood near the door of the restroom. Defendants Herndon and John Roe stood outside the door.
37. Plaintiff asked Defendant Garska words to the effect of, “What do you want me to
38. Defendant Garska replied, “What do you think? Show me!”
39. Plaintiff pulled her pants and underwear down, exposing her genitalia. Defendant Garska visually inspected Plaintiff’s exposed genitalia and looked upon her vaginal area. Defendant Garska positioned herself so that her eyes were approximately level with Plaintiff’s hips and unclothed pelvic area.
40. After Defendant Garska was satisfied that Plaintiff was menstruating, Ms. Doe was permitted to raise her pants and exit the prison’s visitation-area restroom.
41. Defendants then permitted Plaintiff to proceed with her visitation.