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Federal prisons ordered to provide pads, tampons to female inmates

Federal prisons ordered to provide pads, tampons to female inmates

The Federal Bureau of Prisons has directed all prisons to provide female inmates with pads, tampons and panty liners free of charge.

The agency sent a memo at the beginning of August directing wardens to ensure "female inmates have access to a range of feminine hygiene products related to menstruation."

The directive was announced by Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.), who had urged the Department of Justice to make feminine hygiene items available to female inmates. 

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While some facilities already make the products available, in a letter to the bureau last year Meng said there’s no uniform standard pertaining to the pricing or distribution of feminine hygiene products or the quantity of such products that must be made available.  

"The move will be a huge boost in our efforts to make tampons, pads, liners and other feminine hygiene products more accessible to women, and it will help restore dignity and proper hygiene practices to the many inmates who found these items out of reach," Meng said in a statement Thursday.

“Though long overdue, I welcome this new policy, and look forward to its implementation."

In a statement to The Hill, Bureau of Prisons spokesman Justin Long said wardens of federal prisons have the responsibility to ensure female hygiene products are made available for free in sufficient frequency and number according to needs.

"The revised policy ensures that female inmates will be able to choose from a variety of feminine hygiene products, including two sizes of tampons, two sizes of pads, and panty liners," he said.

This story was updated at 5:05 p.m.