Prisoners will have free access to menstrual products in Maine jails and prisons under a new law in the state.

The law follows up on an announcement by the federal Bureau of Prisons in 2017 that all people in its facilities would be guaranteed free menstrual products. The change didn’t affect people incarcerated in state and county prisons.

Democratic Rep. Charlotte Warren of Hallowell says creating “unrestricted access” to the products is “an issue of human dignity.” Democratic Gov. Janet Mills signed the proposal into law May 23.

Democrats in the state say Maine’s county and state jails and prisons did not specify free access to the products prior to the new law. They say the new law ensures access to products such as sanitary pads and tampons without charge.

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