Bill That Provides Free Feminine Hygiene Products for Inmates, Sponsored by Senator Persaud, Signed Into Law

A bill sponsored by Senator Roxanne J. Persaud that mandates the provision of feminine hygiene products for inmates became law last Friday.

On Dec. 7, Governor Cuomo signed Bill 8821-2018, which would ensure access to feminine hygiene products for incarcerated women in correctional facilities across New York State, free of charge. Previously, female inmates would often run out of their allotted monthly supply and had no choice but to purchase more from the prison commissary. However, if such products were not affordable, they had no alternative but to go without or create their own makeshift versions. Both routes involved unsanitary conditions, which could lead to physical and mental health issues.

“It is demeaning to make women ration their feminine hygiene products,” Senator Persaud said. “It is the state’s duty to ensure that all people within New York’s criminal justice system serve their time in a dignified and safe manner. By guaranteeing that incarcerated women will never have to craft their own hygiene products again, we ensure that inmates can focus on their rehabilitation without struggling for basic needs.”

Senator Persaud continued, “I want to acknowledge and thank my colleague and sponsor of the Assembly version of this legislation, Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, for all her work in helping to make this bill become law.”

Assemblywoman Rosenthal said, “Menstruation is a basic part of a woman’s biology, and access to menstrual hygiene products is a fundamental health necessity. This legislation is about ensuring incarcerated individuals have access to an adequate number of menstrual hygiene products, but also to ensure that they are not deprived of their dignity because of their period."