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ACLU, inmate group suing DOC over dog searches

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Civil rights groups are suing the state Department of Correction in an effort to at least temporarily stop the agency from using drug-sniffing dogs to search prison visitors for contraband.

The plaintiffs, the ACLU of Massachusetts and Prisoners’ Legal Services, an inmate advocacy group, filed their lawsuit last week in Suffolk Superior Court. They are seeking a preliminary injunction to bar the searches and allow for public comment on the policy, which prison officials implemented in November, court records show.

“Although DOC is properly concerned about the presence of drugs inside the prisons, intrusive searches by dogs that may terrify children and be regarded as a significant invasion of privacy will inevitably reduce the numbers of visits,” the plaintiffs wrote in a legal filing.

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