Jail workers went too far in telling female lawyers they'd have to remove their underwire bras if they wanted to meet with clients, a sheriff said.

At least two attorneys say they were told they'd have to remove their bras when entering the Cumberland County Jail because they set off the metal detector. The women refused to comply and left.

Sheriff Kevin Joyce said it was never jail policy to turn away attorneys under such circumstances, and he told reporters on Monday that he won't let it happen again.

"The policy is real clear: no weapons and contraband. It doesn't say anything about underwire bras," Joyce said.

One of the attorneys, Amy Fairfield, told the Portland Press Herald: "I appreciate that he recognizes that I shouldn't have to take off my clothes to see my clients."

The newspaper, which first reported the flap, said the metal detector policy was drafted by a jail administrator who was hired last year after several security breaches that included inmates escaping from maximum-security cells for sexual trysts and others smuggling drugs into the facility.

The attorneys who were asked to remove their bras requested an apology.

Joyce said Monday that he wasn't ready to apologize until an investigation was completed into what exactly happened when the women tried to enter the jail.

Fairfield said the sheriff "seems to be speaking out of both sides of his mouth" while trying to placate both the attorneys and support staff.