The Rev. George Walters-Sleyon, a pastor who heads the Roxbury-based Center for Church and Prison, said he is holding a rally in front of the State House Wednesday morning to protest the proposed change, which he argues runs counter to the department’s objectives.
He said the random drug searches at prison entrances would reduce visits by families and relatives, some of whom could have intense fears of dogs. If fewer families visit, he said, inmates are at risk of loneliness and may return to the public in worse shape than when they went in.
“This fundamentally undermines every form of adequate reintegration,’’ said Walters-Sleyon.
Advocates and other residents also contend that they are already subjected to intense searches by guards when they visit prison.
“My visits are already limited,’’ said one Dorchester woman who asked not to be identified to protect her privacy. She said she sometimes takes the commuter rail to visit her boyfriend at MCI-Concord. “I don’t go up there as much. But if I have to be sniffed by a dog, forget about it.”