My name is Barbara Colt. I am on the board of directors for The Womxn Project. The Womxn Project is a statewide organization focused on leveraging the power of art, activism, advocacy and education to advance the principles of reproductive justice, which demands that we all have the right to determine when and how we build our relationships, families and futures and that we have the ability to live and raise our children with dignity.
I am thrilled to submit testimony in support of S251, which ensures access to free menstrual products in prisons. I do not usually talk to legislators about periods and pads, but pushing aside the potential awkwardness this really is an issue of supporting women in our state.
People need to buy these products not only for basic hygiene and the dignity of being able to care for yourself, but it is also a matter of being able to complete the jobs that are assigned to you while you are behind bars. The financial barriers for people in prison are a huge barrier.
People who are incarcerated are required to work, but may make pennies per day. Studies have shown that in these facilities two tampons can cost $5.55 and a pair of panty liners could go for $1.35. More than 50% percent of women surveyed in prison said they do not get enough sanitary pads. Some people walk around in stained jumpsuits. Others fashion pads out of socks. Some used their weekly allotment of tissues and stuff them in their underwear. Just because you’re incarcerated doesn’t mean your human dignity should be taken away.
This is really such a simple gesture to close the gap in a need that when left unmet has health implications, financial implications and is just a matter of basic respect. We urge you to vote yes on this important legislation. Thank you.
Contact: Barbara Colt ([email protected]womxnproject.org or 401-400-0061)