Prison inmates who refuse a strip search may be forced to submit to the search, according to Slate. This can be accomplished through physical holds by the guards or by tying the inmate to a gurney.
Although the two are often confused, strip searches are different from the more-invasive body-cavity searches, reports Slate. Strip searches can be forced, but cavity searches generally are not. If a prisoner refuses to cooperate with a cavity search, he may be put in solitary confinement and watched carefully until enough time has passed that guards are sure the prisoner does not possess any contraband. Some jails and prisons may use a body-orifice security scanner, which scans for hidden items inside the body. Slate reports that cavity searches are not common and are generally seen as a last resort.
Prisoners who refuse to cooperate with guards' orders, including refusing to be strip searched, may also face other punishments. Many guards use solitary confinement to punish uncooperative prisoners for even minor violations, reports North Country Public Radio. Withholding visiting privileges and other benefits from uncooperative prisoners is common, and illegal punishments, such as physical assault, verbal abuse and food tampering may occur as well, notes Prison Legal News. Anecdotal accounts shared with the American Civil Liberties Union and Alternet discuss prisoners who refused to accept visitors due to fear of being strip-searched.