Yesterday the MDOC sent out a message to all staff about their intentions to make changes to the process of conducting pat-down and strip searches of prisoners that want to identify as a member of the opposite sex. We are 100% opposed to this plan and contacted the Department immediately to request a meeting to voice our concerns about the policy and the safety of our members. Late yesterday afternoon I, along with Vice President Ray Sholtz and Legal Director Jeff Foldie, met with Department officials Kyle Kaminski (Director’s Office), Jared Warner (MDOC Legal Director) and Angela Helm (MDOC Labor Relations). We questioned the Department on whether this policy change was mandated by a higher federal policy and their response was that it was a requirement under the federal PREA guidelines. We are now researching whether that is accurate and have reached out to other state and federal corrections agencies across the country to determine if the same policies exist or not. We are prepared to challenge this policy by all means possible. This policy is being hastily rushed in our opinion and there are many operational and security concerns that need to be addressed. We will post additional updates moving forward.