Squat and Cough: What it Means

Squat and cough is a procedure used in many prisons worldwide to detect contraband items that prisoners may be hiding in their body cavities. It involves the prisoner squatting and then coughing while being observed by prison staff. The purpose of this article is to explore the history, anatomy, psychology, legal aspects, controversies, and future of squats and coughs.

History and Evolution of Squat and Cough

Squat and cough have been used in prisons for several decades as a means of detecting contraband. The procedure was first used in the United States in the 1970s and quickly became common practice in many other countries. Over time, the procedure has evolved to include various techniques and equipment, such as metal detectors and X-ray machines, to improve its effectiveness.

Despite advances in technology, squatting, and coughing remains relevant and essential procedure in many prisons today. Its effectiveness in detecting contraband has been proven time and time again, making it an important tool in maintaining prison security.

The Anatomy of Squat and Cough

During a squat and cough, a prisoner is required to squat and then cough forcefully. This action causes the muscles in the pelvic area to contract, which can help to expel any contraband items that may be hidden in the body cavities.

Squat and cough are not only beneficial for detecting contraband, but it also provides an opportunity for medical staff to identify any health issues that a prisoner may have. Additionally, it can help to prevent the spread of disease within the prison population by identifying prisoners who may be carrying infectious diseases.

However, there are risks associated with squatting and coughing, including injury to the pelvic area, which can cause pain and discomfort to the prisoner.

The Psychology of Squat and Cough

Squat and cough can have a significant impact on prisoners psychologically. The procedure can be embarrassing and degrading, leading to feelings of shame and humiliation. It can also contribute to a culture of fear and mistrust within the prison population, as prisoners may fear being targeted for a squat and cough.

Despite these challenges, many prisoners have developed coping mechanisms to deal with squat and cough. These may include support from fellow prisoners or mental health services provided by the prison.

Squat and cough is a legal procedure in many countries, including the United States, where it has been challenged in court on several occasions. The legality of the procedure depends on various factors, such as the circumstances in which it is used, the level of invasiveness, and the rights of the prisoner.

Prisoners do have rights regarding squats and coughs, and prison staff must follow specific procedures to ensure that these rights are protected. Over time, the law regarding squat and cough has evolved, with many countries introducing legislation to regulate the procedure.

Controversies Surrounding Squat and Cough

Despite its effectiveness in detecting contraband, squat, and cough is not without their controversies. The ethical implications of the procedure have been questioned, with some arguing that it is a violation of human rights. Additionally, there have been criticisms of the procedure’s effectiveness, with some suggesting that it may be less effective than other methods of detecting contraband.

Alternatives to squat and cough have been proposed, such as the use of full-body scanners or sniffer dogs. However, these alternatives may be more expensive or less effective than squat and cough.

The Future of Squat and Cough

As technology continues to advance, it is likely that new innovations will be developed to improve the squat and cough procedure. For example, some prisons are exploring the use of body scanners, which can quickly and accurately detect contraband without the need for physical searches.

It is also possible that squat and cough may become less prevalent in the future. Some experts predict that as prisons become more focused on rehabilitation rather than punishment, the need for invasive search procedures will diminish.

Regardless of what the future holds, squat and cough remain an important topics of discussion in the world of criminal justice. It is a procedure that has been used for decades, and despite its controversies, it continues to be an important tool for maintaining order and safety within prisons.


In conclusion, squat and cough is a procedure that is used in prisons to detect contraband and maintain the safety and security of the facility. While it has been the subject of controversy and criticism, many argue that it is a necessary procedure.

The legality and ethics of squat and cough continue to be debated, and as technology advances, it is likely that new innovations will be developed to improve the procedure. Overall, squat and cough remain an important part of the criminal justice system, and its future is sure to be the subject of continued debate and discussion.