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Why are some women in custody in Missouri being given feminine hygiene products, while others are not? Have we entered a time warp that's returned us to a more primitive time?

This past week, the Missouri Independent reported incarcerated women's access to feminine hygiene products depends on where they're housed.

Incredulously, some lawmakers are having to seek a change in state law to require the Department of Corrections, sheriffs and jailers provide women in custody with free tampons and pads.

The independent news organization says some are forced to pay to buy tampons and pads to meet their needs, while others are provided with such low-quality products they end up having to make their own.

Twyla Adair, who has served time in the Missouri Department of Corrections, submitted written testimony for the bill, writing: "Every place I have been, there has been a constant struggle to receive the proper personal hygiene care that a woman needs during menstrual times."

We believe incarceration shouldn't be fun. If you owe a debt to society, you aren't owed iPhones that stream Netflix. You should never hear the phrase, "How would you like your fillet cooked?"

But, just as we hope Missouri's prisons/jails offer toilet paper, they should offer quality feminine hygiene products to women.

Such a policy already exists at the DOC and some county/city jails. A 2018 federal law requires the Federal Bureau of Prisons to provide free tampons and pads.

Are prisons already required to provide feminine products complying? Why isn't it common sense that all prisons/jails offer these? And why is this even an issue?

As Bert Dirchell wrote in a Saturday letter to the editor: "Have those we elect to local government become so ignorant that state lawmakers must waste their time on laws concerning the availability/quality of feminine hygiene products at local jails?"

Let's resolve to be civilized and offer the basic needs to those who are incarcerated. We urge lawmakers to approve House Bill 318. Then they can move on to tackle issues more worthy of debate.

News Tribune

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