Home Women Del. Mark Keam: Virginia Prison Tampon Policy “Should Be BANNED and Never...

Del. Mark Keam: Virginia Prison Tampon Policy “Should Be BANNED and Never Reconsidered.” Also, “We Need More Women Policymakers”


I couldn’t agree more with Virginia Del. Mark Keam on this…nailed it! – Lowell

Over the last few days, a Virginia state policy issue was brought to light that happened under my own political party’s watch, and I am outraged that any Administration, Democratic or not, would propose such a thing.

I can’t believe that our state’s expert and professional corrections officials — perhaps in their earnest effort to address a public safety issue — got it SOOOOOOOO outrageously wrong!

As described in these news articles, the corrections officials apparently concluded that some women who visit inmates might attempt to smuggle in contraband in their tampons in order to slip the illegal substance to inmates.

To prohibit such a hypothetical clandestine operation, the Virginia corrections department issued a new policy to ban women from wearing tampons or menstrual cups while visiting inmates.

Yeah. Baby, meet bath water.

I don’t even know where to start as there are too many things wrong about this. But, let’s begin by acknowledging the obvious that for as long as prisons and jails have been around, ingenious folks have smuggled in all sorts of contraband to inmates.

Yet, after all these years of women menstruating, and completely out of the blue, the culprit for contraband problems INSIDE prisons has now become . . . women using tampons OUTSIDE prisons?!?

According to the news stories, when a female visitor wearing a tampon goes through security, the proposed corrections policy would have identified the tampons and require these women to replace the tampon with a prison-issued hygiene pad.

I don’t know a lot about security screening machines (other than what I walk through at airports) but I had no idea that these things are so sensitive that they can identify a tampon made of cotton inserted in a fully-clothed woman. That’s pretty damned invasive!

So today, in the face of overwhelming public backlash, Virginia’s Secretary of Public Safety “suspended” this policy, but I believe suspension isn’t enough.

This policy should be BANNED and never reconsidered. In fact, I will draft and introduce legislation in the next General Assembly session to do exactly that!!!

I hate having to legislate common sense, but sometimes, that’s what’s required to keep our government from being so incredibly dumb.

And perhaps this is another example of why we need more women policymakers at every level and every branch of governments making decisions that impact their lives.


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