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Prisons To Ban Female Visitors If Wearing Tampons Or Menstrual Cups

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It's said life is hard for those living on the inside, but it looks like inmates aren't the only ones who're going to have to abide to some pretty strict rules.

The Virginia Department of Corrections announced on October 6 it will be implementing a new policy where female visitors will be barred from wearing feminine hygiene products while in a prison.

On September 20, Nottoway Correctional Center's Warden David Call issued a release, stating that the new rule will be imposed in an effort to mitigate the amount of contraband entering the state's correctional facilities.

"As a result of recent inquiries in regards to feminine products being an ideal way to conceal contraband, effective October 6, 2018, the use of tampons or menstrual cups are no longer to be worn during visitation," the letter read.

"Offender visitors who have been recognized by the body scanner machine having a foreign object that could possibly be a tampon and has failed to remove such item prior to being screened, will have their visitation terminated for the day and will have their visitation privileges reviewed."

"Each case terminated will be subjected to further restrictions being imposed based on the circumstances surrounding the termination."

"Your cooperation and compliance is greatly appreciated."

"It's our job to keep the offenders and staff as safe as we can."

State DOC spokeswoman Lisa Kinney said that in consultation with the state attorney general's office, they will be offering tampons to women who've entered the facility wearing the banned feminine hygiene products.

"When potential contraband is seen on a body scan, visitors are offered the choice of a strip search or leaving the facility without visiting with an inmate. This policy aims to help visitors avoid that all together," Kinney said, according to Daily Mail.

"Offenders in Virginia have died of drug overdoses while inside our prisons. It's our job to keep the offenders and staff as safe as we can."

While the new policy is aimed to protect all parties from life-threatening danger, several people have spoken out on the new practice.

"Everybody knows it's an issue but why focus on a female?"

Denny Barger visits her husband very weekend at the Lunenburg Correctional Center, and said the new policy is "absolutely insane."

"I think that they're discriminating against women," she told WRIC. "Contraband is an issue. Everybody knows it's an issue but why focus on a female? What orifice that they have? What monthly cycle that they have? Men come in there too but they're focusing on a woman."

Barger said that although she has no plans on altering her weekly meetings with her husband, the new rule could pose barriers for other women who want to visit their loved ones.

"They're going to get humiliated over what someone thinking they're putting contraband in their vagina because they're a female," she said.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia (ACLU) also opposes the new policy, calling it "simply unacceptable."

"Helping people who are housed in jail or prison stay connected to friends, families, and communities is critical to rehabilitation and eventual, successful re-entry to society," Bill Farrar, director of strategic communications for ACLU of Virginia told Truthout in an email.

"Any policy that discourages visitors is, therefore, one that should be subject to the most exacting and careful review. In addition, a policy like this one that requires those who wish to visit people who are incarcerated to set aside their dignity and health is simply unacceptable."

The new policy comes five months after the state passed a bill requiring state jails and prisons to distribute free feminine hygiene products to its inmates.

[H/T: Daily Mail, WRIC]

What are your thoughts on this new rule? Let us know in the comments!

Maya has been working at Shared for a year. She just begrudgingly spent $200 on a gym membership. Contact her at maya@shared.com