SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) – A federal judge has issued a preliminary approval of a lawsuit settlement that would prohibit male guards at a Massachusetts women’s prison from videotaping strip searches of female prisoners.

U.S. District Judge Michael Ponsor in Springfield granted the approval Thursday to the settlement of the lawsuit, which was filed in 2011 on behalf of 176 current and former prisoners at Western Massachusetts Regional Women’s Correctional Center in Chicopee.

Ponsor will hold a hearing on final approval of the deal in September. He ruled last year that the videotaping policy was unconstitutional.

The settlement calls for Massachusetts to pay the plaintiffs $675,000 and prohibit male guards from videotaping strip searches of women prisoners, except in emergencies.

The prisoners’ lawyer, David Milton, says the settlement doesn’t address women guards videotaping strip searches.

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