State Policies Around Access

What on earth is the difference between a state law and an agency policy and why does it matter? State laws are pieces of legislation which have gone through the state legislature and been voted on by elected state officials. There are different names for these other rules, such as agency directives, policy directives, departmental procedures, and more. Generally, these are rules which the agency–in this case the state department of corrections–has created for itself. There is no voting on these rules, and they only apply to the department itself, but they generally carry the weight of a state law. Some states keep track of these rules in what is called the Administrative Code or Code of Regulations. Other states, like Pennsylvania, call this codification of agency rules the Pennsylvania Code, which can lead to confusion since the codification of state laws is frequently called the state code.

Originally I intended to only count states which had policies specifically referring to ‘menstrual products,’ however some states use the more generic term ‘female/feminine hygiene items.’ I decided to count this only when it was clear they were talking about menstrual products, not hygiene items in general.

State/TerritoryWhat Is It?Policy NumberRelevant Excerpt
AlabamaAdministrative RegulationAR 338“Each inmate will be issued at intake…Female Hygiene products (female).”
AlaskaDepartment of Corrections Policies and Procedures806.02*“When admitted to the institution, the Department shall give each prisoner…feminine hygiene items for women.”
ArizonaDepartment of Corrections OrderDO 909“Female inmates, including those who are determined to be Health and Welfare Indigent, shall receive a total of 36 sanitary napkins and/or tampons monthly, based on their preference, from the State Issue Officer or designee. Inmates who are Health and Welfare Indigent may obtain additional feminine hygiene products through the inmate store at no cost to the inmate.”
ColoradoDepartment of Corrections Administrative RegulationAR 850-11“All facilities will provide a controlled adequate issuance of toilet paper and feminine hygiene supplies (female offenders only).”
ConnecticutDepartment of Corrections Administrative Directive6.10“In addition, an indigent inmate as defined in Section 3(E) of this Directive, shall, when needed, be provided the following items…sanitary napkins/tampons, as appropriate.”
GeorgiaDepartment of Corrections Standard Operating Procedure
GDC SOP 206.04
Medical is responsible for ensuring that a complete and detailed list of offenders with special feminine hygiene needs is kept and that profiles are given to all such offenders so that all such offenders receive all required feminine hygiene items as prescribed by Medical….Gender non-conforming offenders, including transgender offenders, may request specific hygiene items appropriate to their needs and such requests will be reviewed by the Warden and either approved or disapproved…Toilet paper, sanitary napkins, and tampons will be readily available to offenders in the housing units…The Sanitation Officer will ensure daily that the hygiene cabinet in each dorm is stocked with toilet paper, sanitary napkins, and tampons always.
Hawai’iDepartment of Public Safety Corrections Administration Policies and ProceduresCOR 17.04“During the intake process, facility staff shall issue all inmates the following items….Additionally, all female inmates shall receive: Sanitary napkins, tampons and panty liners upon intake and/or provided access to these options in the housing units.”
IdahoIdaho Department of Correction Standard Operating Procedure306.02.01.001“These Items may be issued as necessary…Sanitary napkins for female inmates, as needed.”
IndianaIndiana Department of Correction Policy and Administrative Procedure02-01-104“Facilities housing female offenders shall ensure that the personal hygiene kits include sanitary napkins and tampons.”
KentuckyKentucky Corrections Policies and ProceduresCPP 14.2“All institutions shall provide the following to inmates without charge…Sanitary napkins – issued to female inmates only.”
MarylandDepartment of Public Safety and Correctional Services Executive DirectiveOPS.175.0002“The Department shall provide personal hygiene articles to inmates including…No-cost menstrual hygiene products to female inmates.”
MichiganMichigan Department of Corrections Policy Directive03.03.130“Prisoners shall be encouraged to maintain a “well groomed” appearance. Prisoners shall be provided or permitted to purchase personal hygiene items, including…for female prisoners, sanitary napkins.”
MontanaState of Montana Department of Corrections Policy DirectiveDOC 4.4.1“Each facility will…supply the following basic items to offenders upon admission…feminine hygiene items, when applicable.”
NebraskaNebraska Department of Correctional Services Policy111.01“Articles necessary for maintaining proper hygiene shall be made available to all inmates and provided to those inmates who are indigent. These articles include at least the following…Special hygiene items for female inmates.”
NevadaNevada Department of Corrections Administrative RegulationsAR 705“State issued hygiene supplies will be provided and scheduled by the institution. Items include…Special hygiene needs of female inmates should be issued on an as needed basis…Upon admission into the Department or received at another institution/facility, staff will…Special hygiene needs of females will be met.”
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New MexicoNew Mexico Corrections Department PolicyCD-150200“NEW MEXICO CORRECTIONS DEPARTMENT STATE-ISSUED PROPERTY MATRIX, State Issued Hygiene, Sanitary Napkins, female inmates, as needed.”
New YorkNY Code of Rules and Regulations7 CRR-NY 1704.5“(a) The following shall be provided or, where specified below, made available to each inmate at time of reception:…(8) sanitary napkins for female inmates.”
North Carolina
North DakotaND Correctional Facility Standards 2021Standard 68: Personal Hygiene Products“Correctional facilities shall provide each inmate detained for more than twenty-four hours personal hygiene items including: Feminine hygiene products (if applicable).”
OhioDepartment of Rehabilitation and Correction Policy61-PRP-02*“Reception Center Issue for Females: Hygiene Items: Each inmate shall be provided, at a minimum, the following personal hygiene articles in accordance with Administrative Rule 5120-9-25.1, Appearance and Grooming of Female Inmates. If requested, these items (excluding comb/pick, toothbrush) shall be provided weekly to those inmates who receive/earn less than $12.00 in the past thirty (30) days and, if the inmate’s account balance has not exceeded $12.00 at any time during the thirty (30) days immediately preceding the request. The financial status of an inmate must be confirmed prior to each issue of a hygiene kit. Items for special hygienic needs shall be made available through the institution’s commissary….(2 boxes) Sanitary Napkins and/or Tampons.”
OklahomaOklahoma Corrections Policy StatementOP-030501“Hygiene items will be provided through reception, canteen services or as necessary to provide for continual adequate hygiene….At a minimum, items available through the canteen or to indigent inmates will be…Sanitary napkins/tampons (females).”
PennsylvaniaPennsylvania Department of Corrections Policy StatementDC-ADM 815“During the reception process, the following basic issue items will be furnished: Feminine Hygiene products (pads, tampons). Feminine hygiene products will continue to be made available on the housing unit at no expense, regardless of financial standing.”
Rhode IslandRhode Island Department of Corrections Policy18.47-3 DOC“Inmates who are initially committed or indigent (unable to afford personal hygiene items) will be provided the following personal hygiene items…Sanitary napkins and tampons are provided for all female inmates (Women’s Facilities).”
South Carolina
South DakotaSouth Dakota Department of Corrections PolicyDOC 1.3.C.4 Maxi Pads (18 ct) and Tampons (40 ct) not available to maximum (MX) security inmates and are available for purchase in commissary (not state-issued).
UtahState of Utah Department of Corrections Division of Prisons Operation ManualFD15“Subject to security restrictions inmates approved for indigent status may receive…feminine hygiene items (female inmates only).”
WashingtonState of Washington Department of Corrections Policy440.080“Newly received offenders processed through Reception Diagnostic Centers will receive an initial issue of the following personal hygiene items…State issued sanitary napkins for female offenders, as needed….State issued sanitary napkins will be provided for female offenders without charge.”
West Virginia
WisconsinWisconsin Division of Adult Institutions Policy309.24.01Soap, toilet tissue, clothing and feminine hygiene items shall be made available when needed.
All information in this table from state corrections department websites.

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Page last updated Jun 1, 2023