‘Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act’ clears final House panel

Florida prison 2
“The state of Florida is working towards real reform, real change and real transformation."

A bill to ensure women inmates are provided with necessary hygiene products cleared its final House panel Tuesday, as the House Judiciary Committee signed off on the bill.

The legislation (HB 49), also known as the “Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act,” was sponsored by Democratic Reps. Shevrin Jones of West Park and Amy Mercado of Orlando. The measure would mandate that feminine hygiene products, toothbrushes and toilet paper at no cost.

Valencia Gunder, Campaign Manager for Dignity Florida, released a statement following the bill’s passage. Gunder has spoken out in favor of the legislation in the past. Her group is made up of state partners supporting the measure.

“The state of Florida is working towards real reform, real change and real transformation,” Gunder said.

“Ensuring a women’s safety and health is an important priority. Maintaining and restoring the dignity of incarcerated women and girls is powerful step in the right direction.”

The bill would also seek to shield women inmates from abuse by restricting the use of pat-down searches by male correctional officers.

A Senate version of the bill (SB 332), sponsored by Sen. Jason Pizzo, has cleared two of its three committees. It’s scheduled to be heard by the Senate Appropriations Committee Thursday.

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected]

One comment

  • Angel

    April 19, 2019 at 11:34 am

    That’s great but shouldn’t medicine be free as well, like Tylenol and other prescriptions. I may have heard incorrectly but they are billed for these services and if they cannot pay after they are released, a warrant is issued and they end back up in debtors prison for unpaid medical services and medicine they received in prison.

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