A woman visiting an inmate at a privately run Tennessee prison says guards forced her to expose her genitals to prove she was menstruating when she tried to take a sanitary napkin into the facility, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday.
The woman, identified only as Jane Doe in the lawsuit filed in federal court in Nashville, said she had already cleared one security checkpoint at the prison about 85 miles southwest of Nashville on April 20 when guards noticed a menstrual pad sticking out of her pocket.
The lawsuit says that when the guards told her she would need to prove that she was menstruating, she offered to leave the prison or leave the pad behind. She also offered to show guards her used menstrual pad.
Instead, she says she was instructed to go into a bathroom stall, drop her pants and underwear and allow a female officer to inspect her genitalia.
The lawsuit claims that the woman was not free to leave and that prison visitor policy at the time stated: “Any visitor refusing a search of any type may be permanently restricted from visiting.”
Corrections Corporation of America spokesman Jonathan Burns wrote in an email that maintaining safe facilities was a top priority.
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