Rosenthal: Bill Will Make Tampons Available for Free in New York’s Correctional Facilities and County Jails

June 14, 2017

Albany, NY – A bill sponsored by Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF-Manhattan) to provide free feminine hygiene products in prisons in New York State passed the Assembly Monday, 142-1.

“Tampons are fundamental health necessities, and women need access to these products no matter whether they are incarcerated or not,” said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal. “This legislation is about ensuring that women in New York’s prison system are treated with a basic level of human dignity and are not placed in degrading situations when their normal, biological needs are ignored.”

Assemblymember Rosenthal’s bill will amend the State’s Correction Law to require that feminine hygiene products are provided at no cost for individuals housed in state and local correctional facilities. The bill is sponsored by Betty Little in the State Senate.

“The accessibility of menstrual hygiene products in correctional facilities has been used to reinforce dangerous power dynamics, and as a result, women have been reduced to going without or enduring unhygienic conditions without a law in place requiring that products be supplied cost-free,” said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF-Manhattan).

The Correctional Association of New York, a non-profit independent criminal justice advocacy organization, supports the bill, saying that “no woman should be put in the humiliating position of not having sanitary supplies…or deal with the outright refusal of correctional staff to provide this necessity.”

Assemblymember Rosenthal passed the 2016 law to make tampons and other menstrual hygiene products tax free, and is also the sponsor of legislation to provide free menstrual hygiene products to students in school and individuals in shelters. She has also authored a bill to require tampon packaging to list tampon and applicator ingredients and to direct the New York State Department of Health to study the health effects of tampon use on a woman's body.

“I wish this legislation were not necessary, but women are still treated as second-class citizens, and I am committed to making sure that the law gives critical women and their health the respect they deserve,” said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal.

Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal represents the 67th Assembly district, which includes the Upper West Side and parts of the Clinton/ Hell’s Kitchen neighborhoods in Manhattan.