Women In Federal Prisons Are Now Guaranteed Free Tampons And Pads

Print Friendly

From Huffington Post:

The Federal Bureau of Prisons issued a memo earlier this month explicitly requiring prisons to provide a range of tampons and pads to incarcerated women, free of charge.

While federal prisons already provide limited amounts of feminine hygiene products to inmates at no cost, the availability and quality of supplies vary from facility to facility.

Criminal justice reform activists say female inmates often receive subpar and insufficient amounts of products to manage their periods. That leaves them with two choices: They can use what little money they have to purchase expensive supplies from the prison commissary, or they can plead with correctional officers for more supplies.

The revised policy will ensure that incarcerated women will be able to choose from a variety of feminine hygiene products, including two sizes of tampons (regular- and super-sized), two sizes of maxi pads with wings, and panty liners, said Justin Long, a spokesman for the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

The memo was released less than a month after the Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act, co-sponsored by Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), was introduced into Congress. A key proposal of the bill is to require federal prisons to provide free sanitary napkins and tampons to women. It also bans the shackling of pregnant inmates, bars the practice of placing pregnant women in solitary confinement, and makes it easier for inmates to stay in touch with their families.

Long said the memorandum was in the planning process well before any legislative proposals.

In a statement to HuffPost, Booker said he was encouraged by the change, but noted that a “policy memo is just words on a piece of paper unless it’s properly enforced.” He said he would be monitoring to ensure that the Federal Bureau of Prisons implements the policy consistently at all its facilities.

While most prisoners in the U.S. are men, the population of incarcerated women has been growing at a faster rate for decades. The policy change will affect the roughly 12,747 women who are in federal prisons, but not those in state prisons and local jails, where the majority of women are held.

Read the entire article by Melissa Jeltsen here.