Influencing the Spread of Prison Menstrual Laws: A Three Essay Analysis of Prison Menstrual Legislation
Type of DegreePhD Dissertation
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With the growth of women in prison reaching immense rates, states and their response to the unique needs of women prisoners are critical. Understanding what factors influence states to pass prison menstrual laws can inform policymakers in producing more equitable criminal justice policies and overall public policies. This research investigates the factors influencing the spread of prison menstrual laws through three distinct studies. Essay one focuses on external state factors, highlighting a connection between the passage of prison menstrual laws and the federal First Step Act and Medicaid expansion. Essay two employs quantitative analysis to examine internal state factors potentially influencing state law passage, revealing correlations between the presence of prison menstrual laws and a higher proportion of women prisoners, increased spending on state prisons, and having a traditionalistic political culture. Essay three, a case study of Alabama and Arkansas, identifies potential influences including external pressures, interstate emulation, and legislator gender. Overall, this comprehensive exploration provides insights into the potential factors shaping the adoption of state prison menstrual laws; or state laws regarding the access, availability, and affordability of menstrual products, encompassing aspects related to personal care, medical treatment, and healthcare interventions specific to menstruation-related symptoms of state prisoners.