Senate Bill 558: Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act Louisiana
This bill provides for increased access to healthcare products for incarcerated women including sanitary pads, tampons, toilet paper, and hygiene products and restricts male staff from conducting pat down searches and entering areas where incarcerated women may be undressed to preserve the dignity of women in prison.
PART 1: Healthcare Products
Women do not have choice or control over menstrual cycles and requirements and therefore should not be required to pay for menstrual products to insure their health and dignity. There are 2,067 women incarcerated in state and local facilities in Louisiana - 1,858 are of reproductive age and in need of these products.
Incarcerated women in Louisiana report receiving as few as 10 pads per month and 1 roll of toilet paper per week. Additional sanitary products must be purchased for a price above market value which places an undue burden on indigent women and women without family financial support.
Part 2: Correctional Officers
Allowing male officers to conduct pat down searches and enter restrooms or showers increases the possibility of sexual assault and likelihood of re-traumatization for incarcerated women.
Bill Status: The bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee with no opposition on April 3. Check on the bill’s latest status here.
Bill Author: Senator Regina Barrow
Women Leading the Charge: