PHOENIX - Amid controversy over a bill that would provide an unlimited amount of free feminine hygiene products to female inmates, the Arizona Department of Corrections has announced that it will increase the number of pads provided.
Previously, incarcerated women received 12 sanitary napkins per month; now, they will be getting 36, regardless of need. The change is effective immediately.
The inmates will still be able to request and receive additional pads if deemed necessary. Other feminine hygiene products are still available through the inmate store, according to the announcement.
The department said it reviewed the policy in response to numerous comments received in the past week.
Rep. Athena Salman, D-Tempe, whose bill sparked the outcry, released the following statement in response to the Department of Corrections' announcement:
"This is a huge victory for women – for those who are incarcerated and suffering under the Arizona Department of Corrections' inhumane policy – and for women everywhere. What's been happening in Arizona prisons was an affront to basic dignity and human rights. I want to thank all of the women and men from all around Arizona and all over the world who spoke up, who bravely testified and shared their stories, and those who contacted lawmakers directly. Your voices made the difference.
While this is welcome news, in the future we would like to see this new policy codified in a way that can't be undone by a new director or governor. We will also remain vigilant to make sure it's implemented as promised, with no unnecessary barriers to women receiving any products they need. I also have a commitment from the governor's office to explore expanding the policy to include tampons."