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Bill would provide feminine hygiene products for female inmates

Delaware Public Media

Women in Delaware prisons who lack fresh feminine hygiene products are at greater risk for health problems.

Legislation sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Margaret Rose Henry (D-Wilmington) would require the state’s prisons to give women inmates free pads or tampons.

A spokeswoman for the Delaware Department of Corrections said women inmates are currently allowed up to six pads a week and more if needed.

But Henry said that’s not nearly enough.

“You know, you’re suffering enough just the fact that you have to be in prison," she said. "But you should be able to have your hygiene taken care of and that should not be an issue. That’s just a basic human right that the women deserve.”

Female prisoners who can afford to buy feminine hygiene products can buy a package of pads or tampons for $4.74. Panty liners are $1.20.

Henry said she was contacted by female inmates who said they had trouble accessing fresh feminine hygiene products.

“Women who are incarcerated frequently are not given supplies in a timely manner and they’re having to wear old Tampaxes or old things for a longer period of time until they’re able to get fresh ones," she said. "We want to make sure they have adequate supplies on hand so they can meet their feminine needs.”

Some places like New York City and the state of Colorado have already passed similar mandates. The U.S. Bureau of Prisons made these products free last summer.

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