Virginia’s House Appropriations Sub-Committee on Public Safety will meet this Thursday, and they are currently hearing HB 83, a bill that would make feminine hygiene products available at no cost to women incarcerated in Virginia. The email list for the subcommittee members and a sample message are posted below.
EDIT 2/16: The bill has moved on to the Senate Committee on Rehabilitation and Social Services!
SENATE Email List:
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
House Email list:
DelBKnight@house.virginia.gov, DelCPeace@house.virginia.gov, DelSGarrett@house.virginia.gov, DelNRush@house.virginia.gov, DelCHead@house.virginia.gov, DelDMcQuinn@house.virginia.gov, DelRTyler@house.virginia.gov, DelPKrizek@house.virginia.gov, DelCJones@house.virginia.gov,
Dear members of the Senate Committee on Rehabilitation and Social Services,
I am writing to state my strong support for Virginia House Bill 83 that would make feminine hygiene products available to women incarcerated in Virginia at no cost. This is essential legislation to ensure the health and dignity of women incarcerated in our state.
Women are Virginia’s fastest-growing incarcerated population, increasing almost ten times from 2009 to 2015 (RTD 1/9/18). For these women incarceration comes with a number of unexpected financial difficulties: loss of income, cost of phone or written contact with family, cost of other hygiene products like toothpaste and deodorant, court fines, and restitution payments. Many incarcerated women and their families struggle to keep up with the financial impact of a jail or prison sentence, during which time the high cost of supplies in commissary are an unthinkable expense. In Virginia, as across the country, women who are incarcerated are also disproportionately low income, meaning the cost of feminine hygiene products during incarceration is often prohibitive.
As you know, feminine hygiene products are not a luxury; they are a basic health necessity. The experience of going without is not just a clear public health hazard, it can also profoundly impact a woman’s ability to attend classes, addiction support groups, religious services, and family visits.
The growth of incarceration of women in our state has rightly been met with serious concern from the public; as we all work to reduce incarceration statewide we also need to ensure that prisons and jails meet the basic health needs of those under state care. I plan to monitor the progress of HB 83 carefully. This is an essential bill, and I expect to see it receive strong support in your sub-committee.