State Laws Around Menstrual Products in Prison
It is extremely important to note that laws ensuring access DO NOT necessarily solve the issue of access to menstrual products in prison. State agencies and individual wardens frequently still have final say over what implementation and adherence looks like. Wardens can still require inmates to request items from staff, a demeaning practice which guards are not required to acknowledge, undergo a medical examination if inmates request extra supplies, and more. In fact, there are examples of wardens following totally different practices while still all believing they are complying with the spirit of the law. So these laws are helpful and can do a lot to make things better for women, but they are absolutely not an indication that the problem has been solved.
The only solution which preserves the dignity of inmates is the provision of a fully stocked cabinet with a range of acceptable-quality menstrual products which are freely available to inmates whenever they use the restroom. Many of the laws below DO NOT explicitly ensure this.
|State/Territory||Bill Numbers||Key Provisions|
|Alabama||Ala. Code § 14-3-44 (2019)||Requires the Department of Corrections to provide pads and tampons upon request.|
|Arizona||Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 31-201.01 (2021)||Free feminine hygiene products (tampons, sanitary napkins, menstrual sponges, menstrual cups, etc) are available to female inmates upon request.|
|Arkansas||Ark. Code Ann. § 12-32-103 (2019)||All correctional or detention facilities must have a policy for provision of a necessary number of hygiene products for female inmates and detainees.|
|California||Cal. Penal Code § 3409 (2020)||All prison inmates who menstruate must be provided menstrual products upon request.|
|Colorado||Colo. Rev. Stat. § 17-1-113.6 (2019)||Free menstrual products shall be provided to those in custody upon request.|
|Connecticut||Conn. Gen. Stat. § 18-69e (2018)||Inmates must be provided with tampons/pads upon request as soon as practicable, for free and in a quantity that is appropriate to the health care needs of the inmate.|
|Delaware||Del. Code tit. 29, § 8903 (2018)||Department of Correction must provide tampons and pads to prisoners at no cost.|
|Florida||Fla. Stat. § 944.242 (2019)||All correctional facilities must make menstrual products available for free and in an appropriate quantity.|
|Kentucky||Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 441.005; Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 441.055|
All minimum standards promulgated by the department applying to county jails and correctional or detention facilities shall include requirements for adequate nutrition for pregnant prisoners, an adequate number of hygiene products for female prisoners, and an appropriate number of undergarments for female prisoners.
|Louisiana||La. Stat. Ann. § 15:892.1 (2018)||Requires menstrual products to be provided to all incarcerated women at no cost, in an appropriate quantity, and the products must be available in the housing units and the medical area of the facility.|
|Maine||Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. 34-A § 3031-9 (2021)||Adds to the rights of a person residing in a facility under the jurisdiction of the Department of Corrections the right to comprehensive access to menstrual products, including sanitary pads, tampons and menstrual cups, provided without charge.|
|Maryland||Md. Code, Corr. Servs. § 9-616 (2018); Md. Code, Corr. Servs. § 4-214 (2018)||Each correctional facility must have a written policy in place providing free tampons and pads to inmates upon admission, a routine basis, and request.|
|Minnesota||Minn. Stat. § 241.021 (2021)||Female inmates in state correctional facilities must be provided with feminine hygiene products per a process developed by the commissioner of corrections.|
|Mississippi||Miss. Code Ann. § 47-5-1505 (2021); Miss. Code Ann. § 47-5-1515 (2021)||The Department of Corrections shall ensure that sufficient personal hygiene products are available at each facility for all incarcerated women.|
|Missouri||Mo. Rev. Stat. § 217.199 (2021)||This act provides that Director of Corrections shall ensure that an appropriate quantity of feminine hygiene products are available at no cost to female offenders while confined in any correctional center. These products must conform to industry standards.|
|Nebraska*||Neb. Rev. Stat. § 47-1008 (2022)||If any female prisoner in a detention facility needs a feminine hygiene product, the detention facility shall supply such product to the prisoner free of charge.|
|New Jersey||N.J. Rev. Stat. § 30:1B-6.8 (2018)||The Commissioner of Corrections must provide products like tampons and sanitary pads for free upon request.|
|New York||NY Cor. § 625 (2019)||Pads, tampons, and other menstrual products must be provided at no cost to individuals in state and local correctional facilities where women are detained or confined.|
|North Carolina||N.C. Gen. Stat. § 148-25.4 (2021)||The Department of Public Safety shall ensure that sufficient menstrual products are available at the correctional facility for all female incarcerated persons who have an active menstrual cycle. Female incarcerated persons who menstruate shall be provided menstrual products as needed at no cost to the female incarcerated person.|
|Oregon||Or. Rev. Stat. § 169.635 (2019)||‘Regional correctional facilities’ (prisons) must make certain personal hygiene products available to prisoners at no cost.|
|South Carolina||S.C. Code Ann. § 24-13-35 (2020)||Correctional facilities, local detention facilities, and prison or work camps must ensure that sufficient menstrual hygiene products are available at each facility for all women under their care who have an active menstrual cycle. Indigent inmates must be provided the hygiene products at no cost.|
|Tennessee*||Tenn. Code Ann. § 41-21-245 (2019)||Requires custodians of all incarcerated women (wardens, sheriffs, law enforcement officers) to provide at no cost and in a reasonable quantity menstrual products in the housing units and medical areas of correctional facilities.|
|Texas||Tex. Govt. Code § 501.0675 (2019)||Requires Department of Criminal Justice to provide up to 10 menstrual products per day free of charge upon request.|
|Virginia||2018 Va. Laws Ch. 815 (H.B. 83)||Requires that the Board of Corrections adopt and implement a standard to ensure the provision of menstrual products to detainees, and the Department of Corrections to do so with regard to prisoners.|
*Not available outside of the U.S.
Page last updated 2 Jun, 2023