location: publications / books / Justice Behind the Walls / Sector 4 / Chapter 3 The Arbour Report: The Indictment of a System / The Strip Search of April 26-27, 1994

The then Commissioner of Corrections testified before the inquiry that while he was shocked when he first viewed the video of the strip search, he believed the video was unfair since it did not depict the circumstances immediately preceding the search. Had these been portrayed with the same detail as the search itself, he said, it would have coloured the publicís view of these events. Madam Justice Arbour disputed that interpretation:

I understand his comment to suggest that the shock upon viewing this amount of brutality would be greatly diminished if one were equally apprised of the ongoing level of disruption, vulgarity and verbal violence which had taken place in the larger timeframe preceding the IERT intervention. I disagree . . . I believe that even if all that had been captured on film, it would not have detracted from the shocking effect and the indignation generated by seeing men handling naked women in that fashion.

. . . The process was intended to terrorize, and therefore subdue. There is no doubt that it had this intended effect in this case. It also, unfortunately, had the effect of re-victimizing women who had had traumatic experiences in their past at the hands of men. Although this consequence was not intended, it should have been foreseen.

I find that the conditions in which the inmates were left in their cell at the completion of the IERT intervention were, frankly, appalling and I see nothing in the evidence to indicate that these conditions were genuinely dictated by a serious security concern. (Arbour at 87-89, emphasis added)

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