By Jennifer Calfas
October 5, 2017

Correctional officers at an Alaska prison ordered inmates to strip naked in front of them and walk on dog leashes, among other humiliating demands, according to a report released last week.

Twelve male inmates at the Spring Creek Correctional Center in Seward, Alaska, were told by correctional officers to exit their cells and strip naked in front of female prison guards “for no reason” in August 2013, the report released by the office of the Alaska ombudsman said. The inmates were then walked on a “dog leash” in “a parade” to different, unsanitary cells while correctional officers laughed.

The report came after an inmate impacted in the incident filed a complaint. That inmate said, while still naked, he was placed in a cell that was “filled with debris, had blood on the cell wells, and feces in the cells, and hand no running water or working toilets” for several hours. The inmate who filed the complaint said the event “constituted sexual harassment.”

The complainant had filed a grievance for staff misconduct in August 2013 after the incident, according to the report. A number of other inmates filed similar grievances, the report said, and the same lieutenant investigated all of the grievances. In Oct. 2013, that lieutenant said the inmates were participating in a protest together, and that the inmates were told to remove their clothes and enter unsanitary cells “for a period reasonably necessary to conduct a search, perform an exam by nursing staff and to alleviate the security threat determined by staff posed by misuse of clothing,” the report said.

The Ombudsman office recommended the Department of Corrections “review and revise” its policies on the devices it uses to restrain inmates and do staff-wide training on the issue, among other measures. The office has worked with the Department of Corrections, which, according to the report, has already agreed to two recommendations — one, which the report redacted, and another that involved revising its policy of strip searches and its body cavity search policies.

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