Senate passes bill to expand strip searches

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MADISON (AP) — The state Senate has approved a bill that would expand jailhouse strip searches.

Current Wisconsin law allows jailors to conduct strip searches if an inmate has been arrested for a felony or a number of different misdemeanors. The Republican bill passed Tuesday would permit them to strip search anyone who will be locked up with other prisoners.

Supporters say the change would create safer jails. Opponents have complained the bill would allow children to be strip searched and open the door to abuses.

The Assembly amended the bill in February to exclude children and make the searches visual unless touching is necessary. The Senate passed it 18-14.

The measure now heads to Gov. Scott Walker.