Legislation stalled that would provide female inmates with feminine hygiene products
Women then mailed tampons to put pressure on lawmaker via #LetItFlow campaign
Incarcerated women in Arizona will now receive 36 free sanitary pads a month, instead of the 12 they were originally given, according to the state’s Department of Corrections.
“As is the current practice, an inmate may request and, without charge, receive additional pads, if necessary,” a Tuesday statement reads. “Additional product options will continue to be available through the inmate store. We believe this change addresses and resolves, in an appropriate and timely fashion, the concerns raised in the last week.”
The news comes days after women kicked off the #LetItFlow campaign in which they sent state Rep. Thomas “T.J.” Shope pads, tampons and money in response to a bill that stalled in the Arizona House of Representatives. House Bill 2222 looks to provide female inmates in Arizona with an unlimited supply of feminine hygiene products at no cost to the inmates.
The bill made it through the all-male Military, Veterans and Regulatory Affairs Committee on February 5 with a 5-4 vote, however, it needed to pass through the House Rules Committee to continue.
Shope, the Republican chair of the rules panel, stalled the bill because the Department of Corrections said it was revising the policy. A House Republican Caucus spokesman said the department’s revision made Shope’s hearing of the bill “redundant.”
Democratic Rep. Athena Salman, who introduced the bill, called the department’s revision “a huge victory for women.”
“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,” Salman said. “We will also remain vigilant to make sure it’s implemented as promised, with no unnecessary barriers to women receiving any products they need.”
Salman said she has a commitment from the governor’s office to explore expanding the policy to include tampons.
Robbie Sherwood, communications director for House Democrats, said Salman is no longer pushing for HB 2222 this session.
“We are declaring victory that they are tripling the amount allotted to women,” Sherwood said.
In a statement to CNN, Shope applauded the Department of Corrections for revising its policy.
“Every human being is deserving of respect,” he said. “When I first became aware of this issue, I reached out to (the Arizona Department of Corrections) and urged them to explore changing the policy, as an administrative change can be implemented much quicker than a change in statute.”
Shope also thanked Salman for bringing the issue to the public’s attention.
“Her determination and perseverance on this issue has certainly made a difference,” he said.
CNN’s Carma Hassan contributed to this report.