Target: Scott Semple, Department of Corrections Commissioner
Goal: Provide female inmates with better access to feminine hygiene products.
Women in the prison system are often not offered a proper amount of sanitary products to use during their menstrual cycles. Chandra Bozelko, an ex-inmate from York Correctional Institute in Niantic Connecticut, spoke out about her personal situation dealing with getting and using pads in the system.
The female inmates only receive five pads a week per cell, which contains two women. This puts the women at ten pads each by the end of the month. During their menstrual cycle he women can only change their pad once per day, meaning each pad has to last them twelve hours. Most commercial pads are only effective for about half of this time. If they want more they can purchase them, but the price is a significant amount of their about 75-cents-a day-salary that usually is put towards other items, and some prisons don’t even provide them to be purchased.
Women in the facility who don’t use their money to buy pads deal with bloodstains on their clothes and pads falling out of their underwear from overuse, which is both unsanitary and demeaning to the inmates. Access to a reasonable amount of feminine hygiene products should be given to women in all prison systems, starting with Connecticut and York Correctional Facility.
Prison is supposed to be rehabilitating, and forcing these women to feel ashamed of what their body naturally does is in no way helping or necessary to aiding them in getting on the right path. Make it so these women don’t have to endure these humiliating, unclean and uncomfortable situations during their menstrual cycles.
Dear Mr. Semple,
Recently one of your ex-inmates wrote an article depicting the situation of access to feminine hygiene products for the women at York Correctional Facility. Despite this being a maximum security prison, these women, as well as all other female inmates in the state, should be given proper access to the items needed to comfortably control their menstrual cycles.
Forcing them to use overflowing pads and clean bloodstains off their clothing is damaging to self-esteem as well as unsanitary for all the inmates. These women should be provided with the same amount of pads the average women would use for a cycle outside of the prison system, and be able to obtain more if they are needed.
Periods are a natural part of being a woman, and these inmates should be able to go through them with reasonable comfort and dignity as any other female would. Though this prison is not the only one where women have unreasonable accommodations for dealing with their menstrual cycles, it could lead the way in showing others how this situation can be properly handled for the best interests of everyone involved.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: InsideCCA