After Brief Ban, Women Lawyers Now Allowed to Wear Bras to Jail

By Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. on September 23, 2015 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Attorneys visiting clients in Portland, Maine, jails can breathe a sigh of relief: they no longer have to remove their bras to get in to the jail. The change came after two attorneys' underwire bras set off the jail metal detector. The women were told to remove their underwear if they wanted to get in to see their clients. Both declined.

After one attorney, Amy Fairfield, reported the incident, Sheriff Kevin Joyce originally defended the policy as a simple safety requirement. "There is no way (for a metal detector) to differentiate people with underwire bras and someone bringing in a gun," the sheriff said. Thankfully, he seems to have changed his mind.

If It Beeps, It's a Gun

Maybe the Sheriff was just concerned about the occasional bra-machine gun combo slipping through. You know, the kind featured in the 1965 pulp film 'The 10th Victim' (where a femme fatale murders from the chest with a shooting bra) or the 2013 flop Machete Kills (where Sofia Vergara does the same).

Either way, the jail had what seems to be a fairly daft metal detector policy: if the detector beeps, the item can't come in. When Fairfield's underwire bra made the detector buzz, she was asked "Are you wearing an underwire bra? Might I suggest you go to the bathroom and take that off?" When Fairfield refused, she wasn't let in, which the attorney says told the Portland Press Herald was "just inviting a lawsuit. It's discriminatory, it's harassing, and it's a constitutional issue."

It's Not the Ladies We're Worried About

Don't worry, ladies, Sheriff Joyce wants you to know that, when it comes to metal detectors, he's not actually worried about your undergarments. Instead, it's prosthetic limbs that a keep him up at night. On Monday he explained:

When I read the fact of going through the metal detector, I'm thinking of prosthetic limbs, etc. I'm not thinking about a hip or knee replacement. An underwire bra is the farthest thing from my mind.

Okay. So, apparently, the good Sheriff doesn't think anyone is trying to smuggle in drugs or weapons in their bra (or metal hip), though he is a bit concerned about that Glock in your prosthetic leg. It's the perfect happy ending: lawsuits avoided, bosom support allowed, terrible policy rescinded. The Sheriff just better hope that no lawyers with prosthetic limbs start practicing in Portland anytime soon.

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