Women sue PG Department of Corrections, say they were forced to take off underwear

Two women have filed a discrimination lawsuit against Prince George’s Department of Corrections after they had to take off their underwear for a security check.

The issue has been raised before with the department, and at that time its director promised it would not happen again.

The women, a mother and daughter, filed thewsuit Thursday afternoon in circuit court in upper Marlboro. Proctor, an ordained minister, and her daughter Zanasha Walker say they went to the Prince George's county detention center to visit a family member.

They women say they were told to remove their bras. They allege they had to walk through the jail without their underwear on since there was no private place to put their bras back on.

“The type of jersey blouse I was wearing, it exposed my breasts,” said Mary Proctor, one of the complainants.

The metal detectors at the security check went off, and the women say they removed their jewelry, shoes and belts. Then the guard asked them whether they were wearing bras with underwires.

“He was implying I had to remove my bra and then the other people said, ‘yeah we had to remove our bras,’” said one of the complainants.

The women say they went into a bathroom, took off their bras and then passed through the detectors. They claim security officers never passed the bras through the medal detectors.

Proctor and Walker say after they passed through security there was no place in the jail for them put their underwear back on.

Back in February, the director of the Department of Corrections apologized after an officer told several female visitors, including four defense attorneys, they had to remove their bras before passing through the metal detectors. The director clarified the department's policy at the time, saying women did not have to remove their underwear if the detectors are set off.

“It's a violation of the Maryland declaration of rights under sex because it only happens to women,” lawyer Jimmy Bell said.