Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal today announced passage of legislation to provide feminine hygiene products to women in state and local correctional facilities at no cost (A.588-B).
"This bill is about doing the right thing for the health and wellbeing of women who are incarcerated in our state," Speaker Heastie said. "Feminine hygiene products are essential health items, and this will make sure they are treated as such in New York's correctional facilities."
"This is another step in the march toward menstrual equity. Ensuring access to menstrual hygiene products is not only a basic health need, it means ensuring people who are incarcerated are treated with dignity and humanity" said Assemblymember Rosenthal, sponsor of the bill. "It's crucial that women receive quality menstrual products in sufficient quantities, and I look forward to the Governor signing this important piece of women's health legislation into law."
Feminine products are not a luxury, but a necessity of life, and today's legislation would ensure that women who are incarcerated have access to them free of charge. Currently in some correctional facilities across New York State, incarcerated women are given an insufficient monthly supply of feminine hygiene products or are required to purchase them from the prison or jail commissary at market rates Women in jails may not have access to money, while women in prison make an average wage of 17 cents an hour. Local lockups sometimes don't have any sanitary napkins available to women at all. This forces women to resort to the unsanitary options of either going without or using makeshift hygiene products.
This legislation previously passed the Assembly in January of this year.