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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: September 26, 2017 04:20 PM
From: Representative Thomas R. Caltagirone
To: All House members
Subject: Requiring DOC to Provide Free Feminine Hygiene Products to Incarcerated Women
In the near future I plan to introduce legislation that will require the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections to provide free feminine hygiene products to all women upon incarceration and thereafter until release. Female inmate access to feminine hygiene products is a public health and safety issue. It is shocking that in this day and age in a civilized society we are not providing basic sanitary supplies to women in our correctional institutions.

Having access to feminine hygiene products is a basic human right and should not be considered a luxury in any circumstance. Currently, DOC will provide free feminine hygiene products to inmates as long as the inmate has less than $10 on their commissary account. This policy does not seem to take into account the other needs these women have, similar to their male counterparts, to buy other necessities such as toothpaste, deodorant, and soap with their limited resources.

Moreover, female inmates should not be forced to decide between purchasing a phone card to call their children or purchasing feminine hygiene products. The fact is many women were impoverished prior to incarceration, and even with a job assignment they make about 75 cents a day if they’re lucky. It is critical that these incarcerated women, most of which will be released back into our communities, continue to have contact with their children and families. This is just another small step to help reduce recidivism.

We should be treating incarcerated women with basic human decency and preparing them to succeed upon release. I hope you will join me by supporting this legislation, after all, every women deserves the right to have unencumbered access to feminine hygiene products.