CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) - A class-action lawsuit has been filed on behalf of 178 women inmates at the women's jail in Chicopee; alleging that inmates were forced to undergo strip searches that were being filmed by male correctional officers.
The suit was originally filed in September 2011 by Debra Baggett, a former inmate at the Western Mass Regional Women's Correctional Center.
According to Boston Civil Rights attorney Howard Friedman, between 2008 and 2010, men held the camera for 71% of the videotaped strip searches. Friedman claims that percentage dropped to 2% by 2012, after prison officials became aware of the lawsuit.
22News talked to Friedman on Thursday. He said that the suit is all about maintaining a person's dignity.
"There's no allegation that anybody was using it for their personal use. It's really for a woman about as humiliating and embarrassing a procedure as could be; to be forced to undergo that procedure while there's a man standing there holding a camera," Friedman said.
A court is expected to rule of the whether the policy that was allegedly in place here at the women's correctional center was constitutional. That's expected to happen sometime in early 2014.