Prison Reforms to Improve Menstrual Equity (PRIME)
To meet the hygienic needs of incarcerated people, our policy calls for correctional facilities in Michigan to adopt standards ensuring the free provision, effective distribution, and proper disposal of menstrual hygiene products. We recommend that the Michigan Department of Corrections standardize a number of free menstrual hygiene products that each correctional facility must provide its inmates on a monthly basis. Following the example of Maryland’s state law passed in 2018 that guaranteed “free access to menstrual hygiene products in the state’s prison system,” our policy requires Michigan correctional facilities to make both tampons and sanitary napkins available to inmates at no cost. To prevent correctional officers from exerting control over inmates by threatening to withhold essential hygiene products, an action that exploits the “officer-prisoner power dynamic” described by former inmates, correctional facilities must distribute menstrual hygiene products to inmates by placing them in lockers designated for the storage of hygiene products that all inmates can freely access.