On Friday, a judge in Louisville, Kentucky reminded jail officials that it is inhumane to deny women pants and feminine hygiene products—which is exactly what they were doing to the woman who appeared before her in court.
The woman was arrested for failing to complete a diversion program on a 2014 shoplifting charge, and had been held for multiple days without the asked-for items.
“No pants, what?” Judge Amber Wolf said in disbelief when the woman’s attorney quietly mentioned the issue …
Her horror at the pants situation was matched only by her disgust at the recommended 75 day sentence.
“It’s a shoplifting charge, a first time shoplifting charge,” she fumed into the phone. “No. We’re not giving her that.”
Officials responded that the woman was wearing athletic shorts and that it was standard for individuals to remain in the clothing in which they were arrested for the first three days. The woman said that many women were undergoing similar treatment, and her attorney added that some were being denied showers.
There are more than 200,000 women in America serving prison sentences in the 170 women’s prisons across the country. The majority of them committed nonviolent offenses (and, presumably, do not have a Judge Wolf to rule on their behalf). Scarcity of feminine hygiene products is not uncommon. In some cases, women were given enough pads to change but once a day, which, to put it very plainly, is unhygienic, humiliating, and inhumane.