5120.421 Visitor searches.

(A) As used in this section:

(1) "Body cavity search" means an inspection of the anal or vaginal cavity of a person that is conducted visually, manually, by means of any instrument, apparatus, or object, or in any other manner.

(2) "Deadly weapon" and "dangerous ordnance" have the same meanings as in section 2923.11 of the Revised Code.

(3) "Drug of abuse" has the same meaning as in section 3719.011 of the Revised Code.

(4) "Intoxicating liquor" has the same meaning as in section 4301.01 of the Revised Code.

(5) "Strip search" means an inspection of the genitalia, buttocks, breasts, or undergarments of a person that is preceded by the removal or rearrangement of some or all of the person's clothing that directly covers the person's genitalia, buttocks, breasts, or undergarments and that is conducted visually, manually, by means of any instrument, apparatus, or object, or in any other manner.

(B) For purposes of determining whether visitors to an institution under the control of the department of rehabilitation and correction are knowingly conveying, or attempting to convey, onto the grounds of the institution any deadly weapon, dangerous ordnance, drug of abuse, intoxicating liquor, or electronic communications device in violation of section 2921.36 of the Revised Code, the department may adopt rules, pursuant to Chapter 119. of the Revised Code, that are consistent with this section.

(C) For the purposes described in division (B) of this section, visitors who are entering or have entered an institution under the control of the department of rehabilitation and correction may be searched by the use of a magnetometer or similar device, by a pat-down of the visitor's person that is conducted by a person of the same sex as that of the visitor, and by an examination of the contents of pockets, bags, purses, packages, and other containers proposed to be conveyed or already conveyed onto the grounds of the institution. Searches of visitors authorized by this division may be conducted without cause, but shall be conducted uniformly or by automatic random selection. Discriminatory or arbitrary selection searches of visitors are prohibited under this division.

(D) For the purposes described in division (B) of this section, visitors who are entering or have entered an institution under the control of the department of rehabilitation and correction may be searched by a strip or body cavity search, but only under the circumstances described in this division. In order for a strip or body cavity search to be conducted of a visitor, the highest officer present in the institution shall expressly authorize the search on the basis of a reasonable suspicion, based on specific objective facts and reasonable inferences drawn from those facts in the light of experience, that a visitor proposed to be so searched possesses, and intends to convey or already has conveyed, a deadly weapon, dangerous ordnance, drug of abuse, intoxicating liquor, or electronic communications device onto the grounds of the institution in violation of section 2921.36 of the Revised Code.

Except as otherwise provided in this division, prior to the conduct of the strip or body cavity search, the highest officer present in the institution shall cause the visitor to be provided with a written statement that sets forth the specific objective facts upon which the proposed search is based. In the case of an emergency under which time constraints make it impossible to prepare the written statement before the conduct of the proposed search, the highest officer in the institution instead shall cause the visitor to be orally informed of the specific objective facts upon which the proposed search is based prior to its conduct, and shall cause the preparation of the written statement and its provision to the visitor within twenty-four hours after the conduct of the search. Both the highest officer present in the institution and the visitor shall retain a copy of a written statement provided in accordance with this division.

Any strip or body cavity search conducted pursuant to this division shall be conducted in a private setting by a person of the same sex as that of the visitor. Any body cavity search conducted under this division additionally shall be conducted by medical personnel.

This division does not preclude, and shall not be construed as precluding, a less intrusive search as authorized by division (C) of this section when reasonable suspicion as described in this division exists for a strip or body cavity search.

Cite as R.C. § 5120.421

History. Effective Date: 03-31-2003