Stripped: Unveiling the unseen trauma of strip searching juveniles in the Allegheny County Jail

PINJ, 11/15/23: “I know the effect a strip search has on the human spirit because I experienced this myself during my incarceration at the Allegheny County Jail when I was 20 years old. I have struggled to process my traumatic experiences in jail, but it is through community and storytelling that I attempt to heal.

I was a young adult, but children are strip searched in the jail, too, with no special consideration for their age or their ability to process the reality of their situation.

In the April 2023 Jail Oversight Board Meeting, Warden Orlando Harper discussed the process of strip-searching youth in the Allegheny County Jail. The alleged offenders were not children in the eyes of the criminal legal system, Harper said.

‘Juveniles are treated as adults, so there’s no extra precautions as far as a juvenile being strip searched from an adult offender. They committed adult crimes, so we treat them as such,’ he said.”

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