County jail's strip searches again draw lawsuit

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) — Two more former inmates of a southern Illinois jail are suing over strip searches they claim were unconstitutional.

The Belleville News-Democrat (http://bit.ly/1g268vU) reports Teresa Hale and Leticia Jackson of Belleville filed the federal lawsuit against St. Clair County and jail officials. Seeking more than $350,000 in damages, the lawsuit alleges the women were strip searched while jailed in 2012 for suspected drunken driving.

In December, 29 inmates filed a similar lawsuit, seeking $10 million in damages.

Sheriff Rick Watson told The Associated Press the cases have no merit, and that his department follows state and federal statutes.

A lawsuit echoing similar allegations against the jail was dismissed in December after a federal judge ruled strip searching prisoners as a group isn't unconstitutional if the searches weren't intended to humiliate.

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Information from: Belleville News-Democrat, http://www.bnd.com