Bill Text: NJ S2962 | 2020-2021 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Requires correctional police officer consent to conducting strip or body cavity search of transgender inmate.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2020-09-24 - Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate Law and Public Safety Committee [S2962 Detail]

Download: New_Jersey-2020-S2962-Introduced.html

SENATE, No. 2962

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

219th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED SEPTEMBER 24, 2020

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  JOSEPH P. CRYAN

District 20 (Union)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Requires correctional police officer consent to conducting strip or body cavity search of transgender inmate.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning certain strip or body cavity searches in State correctional facilities and amending P.L.2019, c.409.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    Section 1 of P.L.2019, c.409 (C.30:1B-46) is amended to read as follows: 

     1.    The Commissioner of Corrections shall establish a policy to limit cross gender searches and surveillance in State correctional facilities. The policy shall: 

     a.     require a strip or body cavity search of an inmate to be conducted by an officer of the same gender who is specially trained to conduct these searches;

     b.    authorize an exception to the requirements in subsection a. of this section only in cases of an emergency or other extraordinary or unforeseen circumstances;

     c.     require a non-security employee to conduct the search if a facility does not have sufficient correctional police officers of the same gender as the inmate population;

     d.    require the strip or body cavity search to conform with hygienic procedures and professional practices;

     e.     prohibit correctional police officers from viewing inmates of the opposite gender who are nude or performing bodily functions except in an emergency or other extraordinary or unforeseen circumstances;

     f.     require a facility to install privacy panels in shower and toilet areas when possible;

     g.    require a verbal announcement to be made when correctional police officers or other employees of the opposite gender are in an area of the facility;

     h.    when necessary to determine a transgender inmate's genital status, require the examination of the inmate to be conducted in a private setting by a medical practitioner;

     i.     prohibit a correctional police officer or non-security employee from conducting a strip search on an inmate solely for the purpose of determining the inmate's biological sex or gender;

     j.     prohibit lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) inmates from being subject to a more invasive strip or body cavity search than non-LGBTQ inmates; in the event an additional search is necessary, require the correctional police officer or non-security employee to obtain supervisor approval;

     k.    require that a transgender inmate be permitted to indicate a preference for the gender of the correctional police officer or non-security employee who will perform the strip or body cavity search on the inmate and require that the request is to be honored unless exigent circumstances require an immediate strip or body cavity search by available personnel, as determined by a supervisor; a search pursuant to this subsection shall be conducted by a  correctional police officer or non-security employee who consents to participating in the search; disciplinary charges shall not be brought against an officer or employee who refuses to participate in the  search;  

     l.     require a transgender inmate who chooses to have a cross gender search conducted pursuant to subsection k. of this section to sign a cross gender search preference form; and

     m.   include any other restrictions deemed appropriate by the commissioner.

(cf:  P.L.2019, c.409, s.1)

 

     2.    This act shall take effect on the first day of the fourth month next following enactment. 

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill requires that a correctional police officer or non-security employee of the Department of Corrections provide consent before  conducting a strip or body cavity search of a transgender inmate.  The bill further provides that disciplinary charges may not be brought against an officer or employee who refuses to participate in the search. 

     Recently enacted P.L.2019, c.409 requires the Commissioner of Corrections to establish a policy to limit cross gender searches and surveillance in State correctional facilities.  The new law requires  that transgender inmates be permitted to indicate a preference for the gender of the correctional police officer or non-security employee who will perform a strip or body cavity search on the inmate.  This  request is to be honored unless exigent circumstances require an immediate strip or body cavity search by available personnel. 

     According to the sponsor, a correctional police officer or non-security officer who is opposed to conducting a search of a transgender inmate in a State correctional facility based on religious reasons or personal beliefs would be able to refuse to conduct the search without fear of reprisal by the Department of Corrections. 

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