Instead of supporting a invoice to offer feminine inmates with free and limitless menstrual merchandise, the Arizona Department of Corrections stated it’s revising its sanitary pad coverage to attempt to put the difficulty to relaxation.
The division stated in a press release Tuesday that inmates will now be granted 36 menstrual pads a month, up from the earlier allowance of 12 pads. Tampons or different sanitary merchandise would nonetheless should be bought.
“The department will continue to provide sanitary napkins free of charge to all of its female inmates, regardless of need,” the assertion stated.
It added: “As is the current practice, an inmate may request and, without charge, receive additional pads, if necessary. Additional product options will continue to be available through the inmate store.”
“We believe this change addresses and resolves, in an appropriate and timely fashion, the concerns raised in the last week,” the division stated.
The announcement comes within the wake of stories in current days that state Rep. T.J. Shope (R) had determined to not hear a invoice that might assure feminine inmates limitless entry to menstrual merchandise.
Introduced by state Rep. Athena Salman (D), House Bill 2222 would give incarcerated women a free, limitless provide of menstrual merchandise, together with tampons, pads, cups and sponges.
The invoice narrowly handed its first listening to within the House Military, Veterans and Regulatory Affairs Committee. It then moved on to the Rules Committee, chaired by Shope, who stated he doesn’t intend to listen to the invoice. Without a listening to from Shope, the invoice is actually lifeless.
Matt Specht, the House Republican communications director, cited the Department of Corrections’ coverage revision in justifying Shope’s determination to not hear the invoice.
“In light of the Arizona Department of Correction’s decision to revise their administrative policy on feminine hygiene products, HB 2222 would now be redundant and Rep. Shope does not intend to hear it in the House Rules Committee,” Specht said in a statement to CNN on Tuesday.
Shope’s choice to not hear the invoice prompted dozens of women to reply on social media utilizing the hashtag #LetItFlow. Some took their grievance a step additional and stated they have been sending the representative pads and tampons within the mail with a observe urging him to behave on the invoice.
Rebecca McHood, an activist who helped spearhead the response, was cautious of the Department of Corrections’ assumption that its new coverage would clear up the difficulty.
“The Department of Corrections could have changed this policy at any time before this, and they haven’t,” she informed HuffPost on Tuesday. “They just made a policy change, but there’s no statute keeping them from going back.”
The Department of Corrections is at present facing up to $650,000 in fines for failing to enhance health care in state prisons.
McHood, who’s operating as an unbiased candidate for the Arizona Senate, stated offering feminine inmates with limitless entry to menstrual merchandise is a “humanitarian issue” and shouldn’t be controversial.
“There’s no means without a statute to guarantee the humane treatment of our sisters who are in prison,” she stated.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons introduced a similar new policy final yr, and other states may follow suit. But provided that the majority of incarcerated women are housed in state prisons and native jails, the federal coverage impacts fewer than 10 % of feminine inmates.
Women incarcerated in Arizona’s state and native establishments have beforehand been allowed simply 12 free pads a month and as much as 24 at any given time. If they need extra, they need to ask an officer. And in the event that they need to use tampons or different merchandise, they should pay for them.
“I can’t imagine something more uncomfortable than not having the menstrual products you need for your period,” Salman stated throughout a vote on the laws earlier this month. “So my heart goes out to these women.”