Stop Strip Searches in
Sinn Fein Women's Department
Offset, circa 1985
Women constitute half of the world's population, perform nearly two-thirds of its workhours, receive one-tenth of the world's income and own less than one-hundredth of the world's property. History tells us that every oppressed class gained true liberation from its masters by its own efforts. It is necessary that woman learn that lesson, that she realise that her freedom will reach as far as her power to achieve her freedom reaches. Stop Strip Searches in
Built in 1790, Armagh Jail became a top-security prison for Nationalist women in the 1970s. Strip-Searching was introduced into Armagh Prison in 1982. All women prisoners from the age of 15 years, women menstruating, pregnant women, women returning to prison after hospital visits, and grandmothers were subjected to strip-searching. At first the women refused to comply and were forcibly restrained while their clothing was torn off. The women quickly learned that any resistance meant that they would be forcibly stripped, assaulted, and that they could end up in solitary confinement, losing remission and privileges.
The “Stop the Strip-Searches Campaign” began in June 1984. It called for an end to the strip-searching of women prisoners and condemned strip-searching as a devastating psychological weapon used against women having no security purpose. By 1992, over 4,000 strip-searches had been carried out on women in prisons in