A report has been submitted after an 8-year-old girl went to visit her father in jail the week of Thanksgiving and was strip-searched by the corrections officers.
The girl, who remains anonymous, was visiting her father at the Buckingham Correctional Center in Dillwyn, Virginia. It was customary for her to visit every week, though this visit was particularly important during the holiday.
Her fatherâ€™s girlfriend, Diamond Peerman, accompanied her on this particular visit.
Upon entering the facility, Peerman and the child went through the usual, routine checks that all visitors must go through when going into a correctional facility.
However, a Department of Corrections K-9, who was trained to detect drugs and other contraband, approached Peerman, which prompted a required strip-search.
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Peerman asked if the girl would also have to be searched, which led to mixed reactions.
According to the report, the guards initially said that the girl would not need to be fully searched, but a captain then gave an overriding order for her to be included in the check. Peerman and the girl were then informed that if they did not participate in the strip-search, they would be banned from the state prison for any further visits.
â€œI told her, that means you have to take all of your clothes off or youâ€™re not going to be able to see your dad. Thatâ€™s when she starting crying.â€
According to the report, Peerman informed the guards that she was not the girlâ€™s legal guardian, but they demanded she sign a waiver of consent for the minor anyway.
State policy allows for these searches involving minors when needed, but a legal guardian is always required to be present and sign before that can happen, according to Lisa Kinney, the spokesperson for the Department of Corrections.
â€œIt is deeply troubling and represents a breach in our protocol. We sincerely apologize to this child and her family and will be taking immediate disciplinary action against the person responsible.â€
Kinney also added that the staffer who made the decision for the girl to be strip-searched didnâ€™t have the authority in the correctional facility.