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'Dignity For Incarcerated Women' Bill Passes Arizona Legislature Again

The “Dignity for Incarcerated Women” bill has passed the Arizona Legislature for a second time.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Tony Navarrete, would guarantee free feminine hygiene products for Arizona’s growing female prison population.

Incarcerated women have said for years that, even after a policy change at the Department of Corrections, they still struggle to access basic necessities like pads, tampons and toilet paper.

The bill would also ban the shackling of pregnant women, guarantee access to healthier prenatal diets for expecting mothers, and allow incarcerated women to be with their newborns for 72 hours after a birth.

Rep. Athena Salman, who has introduced similar legislation since 2017, said it’s necessary to codify the guidelines, "So that it has the force of law and if there ever is to be changes made, you have to have a legislative process which guarantees public hearings.”

Gov. Doug Ducey signed the “Dignity For Incarcerated Women Bill” into law on Wednesday. The bill addresses many of the issues raised by women living at the Perryville prison in Goodyear.

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Jimmy Jenkins is a senior field correspondent at KJZZ and a contributor to NPR’s Election 2020 and Criminal Justice station collaborations. His work has been featured on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Marketplace, Here and Now, The Takeaway and NPR Newscasts.Originally from Terre Haute, Indiana, Jenkins has a B.S. in criminology from Indiana State University and a master’s degree in journalism from Indiana University.Much of his reporting has focused on the criminal justice system. Jenkins has reported on Tasers, body cameras, use of force, jail privatization, prison health care and the criminal contempt trial of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.