Cops strip prisoners: paper

August 16, 2009

Male South Australian police have routinely stripped women prisoners naked and put them into padded cells, the Advertiser said on August 14.

The practice was exposed to public scrutiny after a complaint by a woman stripped by officers in 2006 at the Christies Beach police station in Adelaide's south.

According to the Advertiser: "She was held inside a cell naked for about an hour after being picked up on a warrant for failing to attend a court hearing over a minor theft from a shop in the 1990s — a warrant which took police 13 years to execute despite [the woman] living at the same address the entire period."

The woman said: "I can't put words to what they have done to me, it's just inhumane."

The police say agitated prisoners are placed in padded cells to prevent self-harm.

After the story broke, SA police assistant commissioner Bronwyn Killmier told the Advertiser late on August 14 that the police would buy calico gowns for prisoners. "We are just purchasing them now", she said.

She said the purchase of the gowns was not an admission that police had acted wrongly.

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