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‘Dignity' for incarcerated women en route to Florida governor

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Women who are incarcerated in Florida could soon have access to adequate feminine products, such as tampons and sanitary napkins, under a bill on its way to Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The House on Monday unanimously approved the “Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act,” which would require prisons and jails to provide female inmates with certain health-care products at no cost.

The Senate unanimously passed the measure (HB 49) last week.

The proposal would require prisons and jails to make “health care products” -- including tampons, moisturizing soap that is not lye-based, toothbrushes and toothpaste -- available to female inmates “at no cost to the woman in a quantity that is appropriate to the needs of the woman.”

The products must be available “in common housing areas,” so that women don’t have to request them from guards.

The proposal also would require that pat downs and strip searches of inmates be done by female guards and would ban male corrections officers from entering showers, restrooms or other places where incarcerated women may be undressed, policies that are already in place in some facilities.