Eight-year-old girl strip-searched before visiting father at Virginia prison

The entrance sign to the Buckingham Correctional Center in Dillwyn Virginia

The entrance sign to the Buckingham Correctional Center in Dillwyn Virginia

An eight-year-old girl was allegedly strip searched last month before she was allowed to visit her father in a Virginia correctional facility.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam said he was "deeply disturbed" by the incident and called for an inquiry. The father's girlfriend accompanied the child to Buckingham Correctional Center in Dillwyn just before Thanksgiving.

"I told her, that means you have to take all of your clothes off or you're not going to be able to see your dad", Diamond Peerman, the incarcerated man's girlfriend, told the newspaper.

The texts, dated November 24, started with the girl saying she was angry the jail made her take off her clothes and how it made no since to her.

"She is a minor, she is a girl. Initially, prison guards said no, but after consulting with a captain, that decision was reversed", Peerman told the paper.

Staff drew Peerman aside for additional screening after a dog sniffed and singled her out.

The visit took place but only through glass.

In response, Lisa Kinney, the Virginia DOC Director of Communications, admitted that department procedures weren't followed and that the individual who conducted the search was unauthorized to do so.

"We sincerely apologise to this child and her family and will be taking immediate disciplinary action against the person responsible", she said.

The girl's mother told the newspaper that her daughter already suffered from bipolar disorder, depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Prison policy allows for such searches, but their execution without the consent of the legal guardian violates the policy of the Department, said the representative of the correctional institution.

Peerman, who signed the consent form for the girl, was neither. "She was traumatized", her mother told the Virginian-Pilot, adding that she would not return to the prison to visit her father.

"The staff member who authorized the search of the minor following a K-9 alert didn't have the authority to do so". "She becomes emotional, she will break down". Peerman asked if the 8-year-old would need to be searched, too. Why do you ask that when she is naked?

The girl's mother says her daughter has a good relationship with her father due to frequent visits, but the latest left her "traumautised".

"Hey mom, I'm so insane that the prison had to strip me of all my clothes, it does not make any sense", she then texted her mother, according to the Virginian-Pilot. "She was traumatized", she said.

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