RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Virginia Department of Corrections has decided to end the practice of strip searching children ahead of visitation, even as the policy remains under review.
VADOC spokesperson Lisa Kinney told 8News in an email Friday that the department is continuing its review of the policy, something Gov. Ralph Northam (D) called for in December after reports of an 8-year-old girl who was strip searched before visiting her father at Buckingham Correctional Center in Dillwyn.
After The Virginian-Pilot’s report, 8News spoke with people who said they felt like criminals while undergoing multiple strip searches before visiting their loved ones in prison.
Kinney said VADOC facilities can get roughly 4,000 visitors “on any given weekend” and explained that those who say they have been banned from visitation after declining to be strip-searched, have not been “incorrectly told they are permanently banned.”
“While it is not Department of Corrections policy to permanently ban anyone based on non-compliance with a strip search, it’s clear there is confusion concerning its application,” she said. “Anyone who has been incorrectly told they are permanently banned for this reason should reapply for visiting rights through the Department of Corrections website. We will quickly and thoroughly review their case.”
Stay with 8News for updates to this developing story.