A former inmate of the San Francisco County Jail #2 claims in a proposed class action that she and other female inmates were subjected to “random, unnecessary, unjustified” body cavity searches in front of male deputies in violation of their constitutional rights. The lawsuit, which names as defendants the County of San Francisco and its sheriff and chief deputy, further claims that inmates were unlawfully denied any opportunity to spend time outdoors.
According to the case, on November 20, 2018, female inmates in the jail’s D-Pod were ordered to enter bathroom stalls, remove their clothing, and undergo a body cavity search. The plaintiff says the stall doors remained open during the search, which was allegedly conducted in view of “at least three, and up to seven or more, male deputies.” Following the search, the inmates, the suit alleges, were sent to the gym while deputies searched their personal belongings and “destroyed and/or confiscated” their property, including items purchased through commissary. The lawsuit argues that these “unnecessary and unjustified” searches, which the plaintiff believes were also performed in B-Pod and E-Pod, were conducted as a matter of policy and had occurred at the jail on at least one prior occasion. The plaintiff says inmates filed grievances regarding the searches that were, for the most part, ignored.
The lawsuit further claims inmates submitted grievances over the jail’s alleged policy of refusing to provide exercise and recreation time. According to the case, the defendants “largely ignored” such complaints and pay a monthly fine for violating California state law by failing to allow inmates to spend time outdoors. The suit stresses that many inmates have yet to be convicted and have remained incarcerated for years “without once being able to go outside and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.”