HomeBelize DistrictWhat About a Warning for Prison Dress Code Violation?

What About a Warning for Prison Dress Code Violation?

Leslie Mendez

What About a Warning for Prison Dress Code Violation?

An attorney-at-law was denied visitation rights to her client at the Belize Central Prison after she was told that her skirt was too short. The incident occurred in early May after Leslie Mendez attempted to conduct a visit with one of her clients, but upon arrival was met with pushback at multiple avenues. Mendez says that, in her opinion, her outfit was appropriately modest but conceded that if the prison truly had taken issue with her attire, a warning would have sufficed for the incident. Instead, Mendez was forced to go home and change, which she believes is in violation of the constitutional rights of her clients, who should be allowed to meet with their attorneys. We sat down with Mendez earlier today who told us that the problem at hand is not whether the attire was appropriate, but rather, how the prison ensures that the constitutional rights of the inmates are upheld.


Leslie Mendez, Attorney at Law

“What I wore that day, in my estimation, it was appropriate. In my estimation, I was very much covered up. So I didn’t think that it would be an issue.  I attempted to reach out to mister Murillo because, again, the guards told me Murillo and he confirmed that I can’t have access. The point that I was trying to make after that was that I think that in this occasion, in my view, even though I did not concede that I was inappropriately dressed, not so much that it would have justified denying me access to my clients, which again, is a constitutionally protected right. I think these things should matter. They should have meaning on the ground. We should act in a way that reflects the importance of constitutional rights. And while I appreciate that there are rules, I think that they ought to be applied reasonably and, on that occasion, I thought that a warning would have sufficed. I would have taken no issue with a warning. And if there was, in fact, a real concern about my safety or an issue of security because it’s a male population and it’s a particular environment, prison is not flowers and rainbows that on this occasion, if there was that concern, for me, because I’m dressed this way and I’m an attorney who should be given access to her client because we value that and we value ensuring that the rights of inmates are protected, a guard could have been assigned to me to ensure that from the security booth to the meeting room, I’m safe.”

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