The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
undoubted security imperatives involved in jail supervision require
defer[ence] to the judgment of correctional officials unless the record contains substantial evidence showing their policies are an unnecessary or unjustified response to the problems of jail security. 1 So saying, the Court, in Florence v. Board of Chosen Freeholders, upheld routine strip searches, including close-up visual cavity inspections, as part of processing new arrestees for entry into the general inmate population, without the need for individualized suspicion and without an exception for those arrested for minor offenses. 2 Correctional officials had asserted significant penological interests to justify routine strip searches of new arrivals: detecting and preventing the introduction into the inmate population of infections, infestations, and contraband of all sorts; and identifying gang members. Having cited serious concerns and having applied their professional expertise, the officials had, in the Court's opinion, acted reasonably and not clearly overreacted. But despite taking a deferential approach and recounting the grave dangers correctional officers face, the Florence Court did not hold that individuals being processed for detention have no privacy rights at all. In separate concurrences, moreover, two members of the five-Justice majority held out the prospect of exceptions and refinements in future rulings on blanket strip search policies for new detainees. 3
The Court in Maryland v. King cited a legitimate interest in having safe and accurate booking procedures to identify persons being taken into custody in order to sustain taking DNA samples from those charged with serious crimes. 4 Tapping the
unmatched potential of DNA identification facilitates knowing with certainty who the arrestee is, the arrestee's criminal history, the danger the arrestee poses to others, the arrestee's flight risk, and other relevant facts. 5 By comparison, the Court characterized an arrestee's expectation of privacy as diminished and the intrusion posed by a cheek swab as minimal. 6
Searches of prison cells by prison administrators are not limited even by a reasonableness standard, the Court's having held that
the Fourth Amendment proscription against unreasonable searches does not apply within the confines of the prison cell. 7 Thus, prison administrators may conduct random
shakedown searches of inmates’ cells without the need to adopt any established practice or plan, and inmates must look to the Eighth Amendment or to state tort law for redress against harassment, malicious property destruction, and the like.
Neither a warrant nor probable cause is needed for an administrative search of a probationer’s home. It is enough, the Court ruled in Griffin v. Wisconsin, that such a search was conducted pursuant to a valid regulation that itself satisfies the Fourth Amendment’s reasonableness standard (e.g., by requiring
reasonable grounds for a search). 8
A State’s operation of a probation system, like its operation of a school, government office or prison, or its supervision of a regulated industry, . . . presents ‘special needs’ beyond normal law enforcement that may justify departures from the usual warrant and probable cause requirements. 9
Probation, like incarceration, is a form of criminal sanction, the Court noted, and a warrant or probable cause requirement would interfere with the
ongoing [non-adversarial] supervisory relationship required for proper functioning of the system. 10 A warrant is also not required if the purpose of a search of a probationer is investigate a crime rather than to supervise probation. 11
[O]n the 'continuum' of state-imposed punishments . . . , parolees have [even] fewer expectations of privacy than probationers, because parole is more akin to imprisonment than probation is to imprisonment. 12 The Fourth Amendment, therefore, is not violated by a warrantless search of a parolee that is predicated upon a parole condition to which a prisoner agreed to observe during the balance of his sentence. 13