CANON CITY, CO–Colorado Department of Corrections Correctional Officer, David Aldana, walks along the third level of cell house #8 at the Fremont Correctional Facility during a formal count at the prison in Canon City Friday afternoon. Andy Cross, The Denver Post
Women incarcerated in Colorado prisons will get free access to tampons under an amendment in the state’s budget bill, which lawmakers approved on Wednesday and is headed to the governor’s desk.
The so-called “tampon amendment” will cost Colorado $40,000 — in the roughly $28 billion budget — and is slated to replace the sanitary pads women now receive.
State Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver, says she pushed for the amendment after the Department of Corrections declined to change their policy.
We are fighting to ensure that inmates have access to #tampons. Watch this video and join us! #coleg @FaithKWinter pic.twitter.com/uAsmDS3eqq
— Leslie Herod (@leslieherod) April 7, 2017
“Imagine having a need for feminine hygiene products and having that need denied to you,” Herod said in a written statement. “When I found out that women incarcerated in Colorado were not provided tampons — that they were bargaining and trading among themselves for these supplies — I was shocked and appalled. It’s dehumanizing.”
Currently, women in Colorado prisons have to pay $7 a box for tampons purchased through the commissary. Herod said many inmates couldn’t afford the cost and that in order to receive more than their allotted number of sanitary pads, an inmate would have to prove to a guard that she was in need.
“For a small amount of money, we can help provide a small piece of dignity,” Winter’s statement said.
“Tampons are a basic necessity for health and hygiene,” said state Rep. Faith Winter, D-Westminster, in arguing for the amendment’s passage.
A Department of Corrections spokesman did not immediately reply Wednesday afternoon to a message seeking comment.