Improving menstrual hygiene management in prisons
(Rule 5, Chapter 4)
In India, ‘The Model Prison Manual’ adopted by the Ministry of Home Affairs in 2016 to be used by all states and union territories provides for basic minimum standards that must be maintained in prisons, including the provision of free sanitary napkins by prison authorities (Rule 26.85). Despite this, prison visits by the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) revealed the lack of proper infrastructure in women’s facilities, limited provision of sanitary products to ensure menstrual hygiene in many prisons, and a general lack of awareness amongst women in prison of their rights and entitlements.
In response, CHRI, in collaboration with Boondh (a social enterprise that works on menstrual literacy and policy), initiated expert interventions on menstrual hygiene management in prisons, including capacity building sessions with prison staff and awareness camps with women in prison. They published a document on the minimum standards to be adopted by prison authorities, in line with the Bangkok Rules, to raise awareness of menstrual health and hygiene among women in prison and women prison staff, and a poster highlighting basic menstrual hygiene practices which was translated into several local languages and disseminated to prison departments for display in prisons.
For more information see:
CHRI, ‘Menstrual Hygiene and You’.
Boondh and CHRI, ‘Recommendations on ensuring Menstrual Hygiene in Prisons’.