As women, being greeted by our monthly “friend” can be quite an irritating experience. For incarcerated women in Arizona, their experience turns from irritating to infuriating and worrisome when they are only granted a restricted amount of feminine hygiene products per month. Last week, women around the country took a stand for the rights of Arizona inmates.
It all began when Arizona state Representative Thomas Shope (chair of the House Rules Committee) stalled a bill allowing incarcerated women limitless access to feminine hygiene products. Reportedly, state officials put the bill on pause to change policy on the products being received by inmates.
Rep. Athena Salman (the woman who introduced the bill), stated that inmates receive 12 free sanitary pads per month. Once inmates exhaust their free resources, they must purchase the items. According to prisonpolicy.org, Arizona prison inmates working common jobs earn roughly 15 cents per hour (before taxes) during an average six hour work day. With the price of commissary products, it is difficult for inmates to afford to purchase their own feminine hygiene products.
Women all over the country were outraged by the abusal of women’s rights through the prison system. It wasn’t long before social media was flooded with a new hashtag, #letitflow. The campaign included an uproar of posts through Twitter, Instagram and Facebook from enraged individuals. Promptly, people were sending money, pads and tampons to Rep. Shope urging for something to be done.
Just a few days later, the campaign succeeded in its efforts. The campaign successfully increased the amount of pads inmates obtain by triple the amount. Effective immediately, Arizona inmates have access to 36 free pads per month. This has been an incredible achievement for the cause and for women as a whole.