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GOP Lawmaker: Increased Access to Menstrual Products Would Make Jails Like ‘Country Clubs’

Richard Pickett, a Republican state representative from Maine, said that access to basic menstrual hygiene products for female prisoners would make the prison system seem too much like a “country club.” The comment came during a state hearing last week over the issue. On Friday, members of the legislature’s Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee voted to advance a bill that would ensure access to menstrual products in all of Maine’s correctional and detention facilities. Pickett voted against the bill. During debate, the lawmaker argued that detainees already have access to menstrual products such as pads and tampons. However, supporters of the bill explained how incarcerated people who menstruate are only given a limited amount of supplies each month, and must buy more if they run out, weighing the purchase against other necessities such as phone calls. “Quite frankly, and I don’t mean this in any disrespect, the jail system and the correctional system was never meant to be a country club,” Pickett said.