Sheriff: Lawyers will not be asked to take off bras to enter jail

Posted Sept. 22, 2015, at 12:19 p.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — A Maine attorney claims she was told she had to remove her bra or risk not seeing her client.

The lawyer said she was prevented from seeing her client because she was wearing an underwire bra that set off the jail’s metal detector, and she said that is sexist.

Cumberland County Sheriff Kevin Joyce said they are investigating what happened during this particular screening process. He said that asking a woman to take off her bra if it goes off in the metal detector is not their policy and never has been.

Joyce said he was shocked to hear about the incident.

“The policy’s real clear: weapons and contraband. It doesn’t say about underwire bras, etc.,” Joyce said.

Attorney Amy Fairfield said she was surprised by what happened as well.

“He looked at me very matter of factly and asked me if I was wearing an underwire bra, and he suggested that I go into the bathroom and take it off,” Fairfield said.

Fairfeild said her client was expecting her, but taking her bra off to see him was something she wasn’t going to do. And she’s not the only one. Fairfield said she found out the same thing happened to another female attorney in her office the week before.

“It takes a lot to rattle me or I think my colleagues, generally,” Fairfield said.

Joyce said they are investigating exactly what happened at the jail but promises it won’t happen again.

“The buck does stop with me, as far as the fact that I will make sure that they have sensitivity training with dealing with this and also awareness on other ways of doing it with the exception of what they allegedly have done,” Joyce said.

Joyce called and spoke to Fairfield on Monday. She said while she appreciated it, she hopes nothing like last week’s incident will ever happen again.

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