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Old 02-15-2017, 08:49 PM
ihateprison ihateprison is offline
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Default How to avoid strip searches in prison

Hello, I am a 27 year old male headed to state prison and am terrified of strip searches. I simply can't imagine "bending over and spread'em" and I refuse to subject myself to such humiliation.

I have been thinking about the issue and have devised several strategies that I believe may allow me to avoid the ordeal. Please advise if anyone has had any success in executing these strategies.

First, rather than be forced to undergo a strip search, I am willing to offer to undergo an x-ray/MRI. I would be willing to pay any fees/expenses pertaining to such procedures, so I do not believe that the prison authorities would have any basis to object. Has anyone had any success in asserting this? I do have the means to pay for these procedures, so I frankly do not see how the authorities will have grounds for refusing my request.

Also, to the extent that they refuse to allow me to go the x-ray/MRI route, I believe that I have a Constitutional right to Privacy, and I intend to assert such right. Has anyone had such success in doing so? If that fails, then I have a First Amendment right to practice my religion, and my religion prizes modesty and forbids exposing my naked genitals/buttocks to strangers for the purposes of strip searches. I believe that the Supreme Court would protect my First Amendment rights, and I am more than willing to take my case to the Supreme Court. In such circumstances, would the Authorities require me to undergo the strip search? I am especially hopeful because of the nomination to the Supreme Court of Neil Gorsuch, who is a huge proponent of religious Liberty.

To the extent that I refuse, would there be any consequences? And given that I would be asserting my Constitutional Rights, wouldn't the Authorities have to suspend enforcement of the strip search pending the Supreme Court's decision?

Thanks for any insight into this matter. If anyone has any other ideas on how to avoid strip searches (especially bending over and spreading 'em), it would be much appreciated.

Last edited by ihateprison; 02-15-2017 at 08:55 PM..
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Old 02-15-2017, 08:56 PM
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You're not going to get far with this. I won't pretend to know the available options if someone were to legitimately be able to show harm by participating in a search, but I can tell you they're not going to approve an x-ray/MRI every time they have folks strip out.

Of course every place is different, but where my husband was when I met him, they stripped out before and after every visit. Before and after leaving the yard for medical, school, randomly based on "information" passed to the COs. It was a regular part of their routine.

Also, you forfeit a good number of "rights" when you become a ward of the government. So I wouldn't rest too heavily on that one, either.

I would have a hard time with it, too. As a sexual assault survivor the idea makes my stomach cramp. But maybe it would be better for you to find some coping mechanisms through a counselor before you go in rather than trying to fight the inevitable.
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Old 02-15-2017, 09:06 PM
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The problem is I'm REALLY freaking out about this and I am sure that there is ABSOLUTELY NO NEED to subject people to constant strip searches, so I am just trying to find a way. Has anyone had any luck in claiming to have gender-identity issues such that being stripped search by a man would violate your rights? If a man claims to really identity with the feminine gender, wouldn't that make it illegal for a male or even female officer to strip search? In that event, wouldn't the most logical approach be for a Court to issue an order requiring it to be done by x-ray/MRI?

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You're not going to get far with this. I won't pretend to know the available options if someone were to legitimately be able to show harm by participating in a search, but I can tell you they're not going to approve an x-ray/MRI every time they have folks strip out.

Of course every place is different, but where my husband was when I met him, they stripped out before and after every visit. Before and after leaving the yard for medical, school, randomly based on "information" passed to the COs. It was a regular part of their routine.

Also, you forfeit a good number of "rights" when you become a ward of the government. So I wouldn't rest too heavily on that one, either.

I would have a hard time with it, too. As a sexual assault survivor the idea makes my stomach cramp. But maybe it would be better for you to find some coping mechanisms through a counselor before you go in rather than trying to fight the inevitable.
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Old 02-15-2017, 09:10 PM
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Seeing as you can be stripped search several times a day and there are thousands of inmates I would not expect that you would get extra special treatment because you are "afraid" of getting searched. Your right to privacy ended when you broke the law and were sentenced. If you were to take it to the Supreme Court (if they would even hear the case) I imagine you would still be bound to strip searches until they made a ruling Even religious reasons don't get you out of them. Seeing as it would take years to get a case to the Supreme Court I would figure out a way to deal with it because I don't see you getting out of them.

Edit: After reading your response you also have to keep in mind what would happen if you got extra special treatment while other inmates didn't. That will make you a huge target and may be worse than just finding a way to deal with them.

Last edited by AndyS; 02-15-2017 at 09:13 PM..
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Old 02-15-2017, 09:22 PM
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First of all, the law that I was allegedly accused of violating has nothing to do with giving up your privacy and being made to submit to a strip search and having my Constitutional Right to Privacy violated. Second, I understand that there are standard procedures, but, given my First Amendment procedures, I am interested in strategies for bringing them to the attention of the warden or other relevant officials for the purpose of having them addressed. Also, if I refuse to be strip searched/spread cheeks, they obviously can't force me to do it. And if they physically forced me to strip/spread cheeks, that would also be a violation of my Privacy rights/Religious rights, which would allow me to sue them for an injunction, correct? Please advise if you have any experience in asserting such remedies.
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Old 02-15-2017, 09:23 PM
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I agree with the above two posters. You will be strip searched at the very least after visits. You lost your rights once you were convicted of your crime and go to prison you are property of the state. I've never been through a strip search but I imagine it's humiliating at first but from why my man tells me at his prison, if you get the old timers it's not so bad pretty quick. You have to be searched for visits but because he gets visits from me regularly most of the cos don't even fully search him. That's not the norm but you can get lucky from time to time. You really need to seek help to deal with it or you are going to have a rough time. You also might be psyching yourself out too. I know all prison are different butvmybman isn't searched for rec or going to/from medical. They get patted down and go through s metal detector most of the time. The strip searches are for visits
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Old 02-15-2017, 09:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ihateprison View Post
First of all, the law that I was allegedly accused of violating has nothing to do with giving up your privacy and being made to submit to a strip search and having my Constitutional Right to Privacy violated. Second, I understand that there are standard procedures, but, given my First Amendment procedures, I am interested in strategies for bringing them to the attention of the warden or other relevant officials for the purpose of having them addressed. Also, if I refuse to be strip searched/spread cheeks, they obviously can't force me to do it. And if they physically forced me to strip/spread cheeks, that would also be a violation of my Privacy rights/Religious rights, which would allow me to sue them for an injunction, correct? Please advise if you have any experience in asserting such remedies.
Well, I hate to break it to you but any law broken (or alleged) that ended up with a prison sentence means giving up your right to privacy. Yes, they can force you to go through a strip search. You can sue anyone for anything. Whether or not it would get very far would be a different story.
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Old 02-15-2017, 09:40 PM
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What about a claim under the American Disabilties Act based on my fear of being stripped searched/having to spread cheeks? Wouldn't a "reasonable accommodation" to alleviate my mental anxiety be the x-ray/MRI method? I am trying to think of ALL argument that would allow me to get out of this BARBARIC and HUMILIATING practice, and I am disappointed in the responses that have been telling me to JUST SUBMIT. I am trying to protect my bodily integrity and I would have thought that a number of people here would SUPPORT me, but instead the people here literally think that we should just BEND OVER in front of the authorities and even spread our most intimate parts to them. I do believe that I have articulated a number of strategies that would give me some hope in avoiding this procedure.
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Old 02-15-2017, 09:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ihateprison View Post
I do believe that I have articulated a number of strategies that would give me some hope in avoiding this procedure.

Inmates don't get access to an MRI for serious medical concerns, you really think they're going to send you out for one when they do searches?

Searches are a matter of security. They are not something done for fun by bored cops or with the direct intention to add humiliation to your sentence. Your strategies can (and will) be met with the realities of going to prison. No one will do you any favors by padding that. Support doesn't always mean hearing what you want to hear, but rather being told the truth.
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Old 02-15-2017, 10:08 PM
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Okay,
You need to realize that when you are sentenced, some of your constitutional rights are waived due to your conviction.

Your idea of MRI / X-ray instead of a strip search at your expense, is not going to happen as no prison in my state has an MRI available, which would mean transporting a prisoner to an outside hospital for the procedure. Transports create a security risk as well as detailing two officers to take you.

Prisons are prisons, not a TSA check points with the latest in technology.

Yes, if you refuse a strip search they will force strip you and have you examined by medical staff afterward, for any injuries you may sustain during the search.

I will say this as an officer for a number of years prior to my parole time, conducting strip searches was not the highlight of my day!

It's time to get real, you will be strip searched.

I know this is not what you wanted to hear, but it is a reality.

Take Care
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Old 02-15-2017, 10:19 PM
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Chris, if I refuse a strip search, won't they just put me in an isolation cell? That would be fine with me. I assume they can't physically strip me/spread cheeks, that would endanger me as well as violate my privacy and religious freedom rights. (I assume they can't touch my genitals/cheeks, correct!?!?!!!!!?). I am willing to be put in isolation as an alternative to the strip search, in the unlikely event that my Constitutional Arguments were unsuccessful and/or Judge Gorsuch declines to take my case. Please confirm that this would be the proper procedure.

Last edited by ihateprison; 02-15-2017 at 10:22 PM..
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Old 02-15-2017, 10:31 PM
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Yes they will put you in segregation after you are forcefully stripped.

You have to realize that you will not be in control, prisons normally have 1000 plus inmates...do you think they keep a list of each prisoners preference?

I know is sucks but you will get used to it....as bad as that sounds.

Chris
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Old 02-15-2017, 10:36 PM
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A pat down search if done properly will be just like an officer patting your down that suspects you have a firearm or drugs on your person.

It will be through and they will feel you up in font and back.

In my state they also search the officers coming in for each shift with pat downs.

I was an 19 year old country boy when I got hired and got used to conducting the pat downs on other officers and having it done to me.

It gets easier.....
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Old 02-15-2017, 10:37 PM
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Hi there I have served time in jail and prison avoiding the strip searches is no possible I may be a woman but I'm sure the procedures are the same you will def. be strip searched upon your first arrival its embarrassing but try to keep in mind that this is not the first time they have a seen a person undressed just cooperate with what they say and don't try to hide anything and you will make though. Going from what happen to me they can search you at any time they feel there is a need once your there and as mentioned above visit before each of my visits I was strip search before going out and once you come back the same thing strip search it really don't take a long time as long as you don't refuse or start stalling. Best thing I can tell you is when in there remember the ball is in there court you go in follow the rules and you don't tell them how its going to go. Your already there don't make matters worst
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Old 02-15-2017, 10:39 PM
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I never sorry you are struggling with this but fact is you will be search frequently. I'll add that several X-rays a week is just not healthy either.
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Old 02-15-2017, 10:53 PM
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I'm going to add this after I seen the part of you saying "refuse" I didn't for say refuse but you can get the picture during my first strip search once at the jail I was asked if anything was on me my reply was no (not very smart of me knowing I had more) I was lead to me strip search location undressed was half way though when I was told to squat and cough I did but as that loosens anything you have hidden (not going into detail) I reached to hide that lead me to be face down on the floor faster than I could blink with double the officers around me

hope this gives you an idea of what would happen/ could happen
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Old 02-15-2017, 11:01 PM
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There have been many attempts to challenge strip searches in court. If you would like a realistic idea of your chances of success, learn to do legal research and check the history of strip search cases.

In general, as a matter of what's real, you've got an almost impossible uphill climb challenging anything that the institution can argue is a security measure. Search term: "penological purpose". Suing a prison system also requires getting past the hurdles of the PLRA (look it up).

If you claim a religious objection to being seen naked, a lawsuit is certain to ask how long you've been practicing that religion (I can think of two and both are major commitments) and whether you've ever taken a shower at the gym. Speaking of which, prison showers aren't designed to accommodate modesty.

I'm enough of an idealist to think that the old backscatter machines removed from the airports should be redeployed to prisons where they could speed up security checks. C/Os could walk dozens of people through a backscatter machine in the time it would take to do one strip search right. "Should" and "within your power" are separate concepts.

Constructively, you could reduce the number of strip searches by declining to have visitors and not taking work outside the walls. Also, never threaten suicide.

Since you've apparently got some financial resources, why not have a sit-down with an attorney who specializes in prison rights litigation and get an idea of the lay of the land? The ACLU or Prison Legal News would be the first places I'd ask "Who do you know that I should talk to?".

Please understand that when we talk about your chances of success we're not talking about whether you're right! I personally think we should question a lot of procedures that are taken for granted and the only time I could be at all comfortable with "lift your [genitals]" is when it prevents weapons from getting in.

I did read about one C/O who told jail inmates that exposing the anus is a gross insult in Chinese culture and that they should treat that part of the search as a way of insulting him. If you fail at changing a fundamental practice that they've been doing for generations, then maybe your plan B could be finding a way to cope.
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Old 02-16-2017, 04:09 AM
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consequences? easy- do every bit of your sentence in a single-cell environment with ZERO privileges or property due to the restrictions that will be imposed. Oh, and you WILL still be strip-searched because at some point in time, your refusal will result in a move team being used to forcibly remove you from the cell.

Playing the tranny card does not excuse you from being strip-searched nor does it require the State to use an officer of the opposite sex to conduct the search. 1) you don't have a history of claiming such in the free world and 2) you STILL get strip-searched.

I would suggest you QUICKLY get used to the concept and notion that you will be subject to daily strip searches.
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Old 02-16-2017, 05:40 AM
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If you oppose anything you are told to do by prison staff, you will be punished. My guess is that yours would include much more frequent strip searches. It's (any resistance or complaining, about anything) will put a target on you for both the other inmates and the prison staff.

What you need to know is that the only legal slave in America is the inmate (check the law that outlawed slavery). Your supposed recourse through the courts has been severely diminished too, meaning that you will wait years before 90% + of your complaints will be summarily denied and dismissed.

Go along, do what they tell you to do, or expect to be treated even more badly for as long as you are locked up.
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Old 02-16-2017, 06:20 AM
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Just buck up and do what needs to be done. Trying to find a way to avoid strip searches is a HUGE waste of your time.

Your energy will be better spent planning for your sentence. Find books that will help you grow as an individual in order to avoid serving time again, read about prison etiquette and how to have the best possible experience while doing your time.

I know there is nothing that makes incarceration positive, but there are things you can do to have an easier time and one of them is NOT finding ways to avoid what happens daily, sometimes several times daily.

As someone else mentioned, you gave up your rights when you broke the law, you will be at the mercy of the state once you step foot to the other side of those gates.
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Old 02-16-2017, 06:23 AM
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A strip search on arrival is mandatory for every prisoner entering prison. It's one of those things that are unavoidable and will happen with all the refusing and alternatives put to them.

Saying that they're really not as bad as they sound. I know they have been exaggerated in the media and society in general almost as tradition. You have to remember that you'll be one of the hundreds being strip searched in that prison, on that day. Any CO's will have forgotten about what you look like minutes after due to how many they search and the whole strip search process only lasts a minute tops. It's one of those things that even the shy can get used to pretty fast.
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Old 02-16-2017, 06:32 AM
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H
Also, to the extent that they refuse to allow me to go the x-ray/MRI route, I believe that I have a Constitutional right to Privacy, and I intend to assert such right. Has anyone had such success in doing so? If that fails, then I have a First Amendment right to practice my religion, and my religion prizes modesty and forbids exposing my naked genitals/buttocks to strangers for the purposes of strip searches. I believe that the Supreme Court would protect my First Amendment rights, and I am more than willing to take my case to the Supreme Court. In such circumstances, would the Authorities require me to undergo the strip search? I am especially hopeful because of the nomination to the Supreme Court of Neil Gorsuch, who is a huge proponent of religious Liberty.
1) good luck getting anything into the courts in a timely manner, much less having final resolution from the Supremes inside of five years or so.

2) good luck persuading any court of competent jurisdiction that there is a faith that is perfectly ok with showering naked in front of other inmates (who are being supervised by correctional staff) but yet the faith has a problem with convicted felons being subjected to common security practices.

3) as noted previously, you are FAR better off just getting used to the concepts that your modesty is one of many things you chose to shed when you committed an act that has resulted in a prison sentence
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Old 02-16-2017, 06:49 AM
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Playing the tranny card does not excuse you from being strip-searched


OMG, some of you guys are just brutal this morning.

OP, seriously, the entire 5 years I was down, OTHER than visitation (which you can easily opt out of) I can probably count the number of times I was strip-searched on one hand. Seriously.

And usually when it does happen, you are in a small room (or private 2-man cell) with only your cellmate there to see you naked, which he won't, because he'll be right next to you getting the same treatment with eyes straight forward.

And the whole procedure takes less than 30 seconds, seriously. Clothes off, lift penis, lift scrotum, turn around, bend over and cough real quick. And you're done.

The hardest time is the first time. After that, it's just an annoying chore.
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Old 02-16-2017, 07:07 AM
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I might just add that back when I was interning with the ACLU of Idaho, we did get complaints about invasive strip searches from inmates from time to time. Folks did ask if there was any constitutional remedy to avoid them.

Unfortunately, even though prisoners do retain SOME of their constitutional rights, especially their Eighth Amendment rights against "cruel and unusual punishments", the courts have generally found that being forced to strip or shower naked in the presence of others isn't "cruel" nor "unusual" for the very understandable sake of basic security measures in there, nor is avoiding such a constitutionally protected right.

Keep in mind, that the moment you step foot inside those prison gates, you are considered GOVERNMENT PROPERTY. You are a WARD OF THE STATE and as such forfeit many of your "God-given" rights, especially any right to privacy. That is a consequence you have earned by choosing to break the law. With rare exception, your particular religious objections be damned.

That being said, it would be interesting to see someone seriously try to challenge it. If they are willing to remain in the SHU for the entire duration, forfeiting any parole, any "good time", any chance for an early release.

Judge Gorsuch has ruled in a few cases friendly to felons, and there is the "religious liberty" angle to play, but unless Trump can really stack the deck with 3 or 4 more very similarly minded judges (and not authoritarian stalwarts who always side with the government like most of the others on his potentials list so far) good luck getting a majority of the Supreme Court to see it your way, if they even choose to grant certiorari to even hear an appellate court denial ever at all.
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Old 02-16-2017, 08:53 AM
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Oh, and if you do end up in the SHU and refuse to shower, let me share with you another story.

During the 6 weeks of hell I spent in solitary confinement, no day was more memorable than the one in which the SORT team came in completely unannounced one morning, armed with their riot shields and batons, and started banging on this guy's door a few cells down.

"Prisoner #XXXXX, are you going to shower or are we going to have to forcibly extract you?"

No response.

"Prisoner #XXXXX, this is your last warning. Are you going to comply or are we going to have to come in?"

No response.

So the riot squad officer in the back takes out his camcorder and starts recording (for their own protection, in case the prisoner later tries to claim he was "unfairly abused" and tries to sue) and the lead guy in front raises his fist to signal control to open the door, prompting them all to rush in.

Yelling and screaming is heard from the cell as they use these huge shears to forcibly cut the prisoner's scrubs off of him, ripping his underwear off in the process. The prisoner is then forced down on his bed naked and violently cuffed with several officers pinning him down, while the entire episode is caught on camcorder for documentary purposes.

The prisoner is then carried out of the cell length-wise, bare-ass naked for the whole tier to see, and brought to the shower, where he is stood on his feet and held in an upright position, still cuffed, as another officer turns on the water and soaps him up, all while the prisoner is screaming and protesting in futile the whole time.

"Quit resisting!"

This continues for a few minutes until the prisoner stops yelling and things go quiet on the tier. The prisoner is then escorted back to his cell, carried by his arms, hands still cuffed behind his back, with his feet dragging this time, his bare naked manhood exposed for the whole tier to see, then laid back face-down on his bunk while they remove the cuffs, and left there naked while the SORT team slowly back-walks out of his cell, facing him the whole time, with the camera still rolling until they slam the door shut and leave him there, completely and utterly humiliated and defeated, to ponder his principled noncompliance.

So yeah. There's that.

Or you could just comply and do what you are told and put up with the mild and minimal embarrassment and not have to be paraded around like circus animal on display.

Up to you.
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