Florida Has New Law to Ensure Dignity for Incarcerated Women and Femmes
The law provides feminine hygiene products and increases protections for incarcerated women
On Friday June 7th, several weeks after the Florida legislative session ended, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis finally signed into law the Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act (HB 49/SB 332), aimed at providing medically necessary products to incarcerated women and femmes, and preventing male correctional guards from entering areas where women undress.
The bill, introduced by House Representatives Shevrin Jones (D-Broward) and Amy Mercado (D-Orange and Osceola), and by Senator Jason Pizzo (D-Miami), received bipartisan support and was backed by Dignity Florida, a diverse coalition of partners from across the state of Florida that believe all women deserve respect, and healthy and safe conditions, even while incarcerated. Currently, incarcerated women have limited access to menstrual and hygiene products, and are required to purchase additional supplies at above market rate. Also, there is no protection from male guards when required to undress.
“Today the sun is shining a little brighter for all Floridians. Today, change was made, and hope and dignity were restored. The Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act’s passage into law shows that we are moving in the right direction towards a more equitable Florida,” said Valencia Gunder, Campaign Manager for Dignity Florida and Criminal Justice Program Manager for New Florida Majority. “Even though there is still much work ahead, I hope that every incarcerated and formerly incarcerated woman and girl in the state of Florida feels protected and uplifted.”
Dignity Florida mobilized dozens of women through the legislative session in support of this bill. The coalition is formed by New Florida Majority, Cut50, the Miami Workers Center, Planned Parenthood Florida, the Florida Advocacy Network of the Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, among others.