Massachusetts' highest court says the state's Department of Correction overstepped its authority when it began using dogs to search prison visitors for drugs without giving the public a chance to weigh in.
The Supreme Judicial Court ruled Thursday that the department should have followed a regulatory process that allows interested parties an opportunity to present their views.
The drug-dog policy has been in place since 2013. The court said it could have a "potentially significant impact" on visitors' experience.
The court is allowing the department to continue using the dogs for a certain period while it follows the proper regulatory process.
The correction department said in a statement that it's glad the court found the drug-detection dog policy is not prohibited by its existing regulations.