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Arizona corrections hikes amount of free tampons, pads for inmates

(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli,File)

PHOENIX — The Arizona Department of Corrections announced Tuesday it had increased the minimum amount of free feminine hygiene products given to inmates.

In a statement, the department announced that it would be raising the minimum baseline quantity of products that inmates receive each month from 12 to 36 starting March 1.

“The Arizona Department of Corrections appreciates and values the comments and feedback it has received in recent days regarding sanitary napkin products provided to female inmates,” the statement read. “Department personnel have accordingly reviewed the department’s current policy and practice.”

In addition to the increase, the department said it would continue to “provide sanitary napkins free of charge…regardless of need” and allow inmates to request additional pads “without charge.”

“We believe this change addresses and resolves, in an appropriate and timely fashion, the concerns raised in the last week.”

The announcement came on the same day that an Arizona lawmaker blocked a bill that would have guaranteed an unlimited supply of free feminine hygiene products for inmates.

Republican Rep. T.J. Shope blocked the bill because, he claimed, the issue should be handled by the Department of Corrections and not through state statute.

The agency previously provided inmates with 12 free pads each month.

Inmates may have requested an additional 12, but they cannot keep more than 24 at any one time. If women want tampons, the items can be purchased in the commissary.

Inmates, who make about 15 cents an hour, testified before the Military, Veterans and Regulatory Affairs Committee last week that requests for additional pads can be difficult to get approved.

The committee narrowly passed the bill, sending it to the Rules Committee, but Shope chose to not place it on his committee’s agenda.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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