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Addressing The Rights Of Female Prisoners: Menstrual Management

Karanam Manaswini, Christ University, Lavasa


According to the Prison Statistics of India 2022 by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), there are 34 women's prisons out of 1,330 prisons. The female inmate occupancy rate is 60.1%, which includes 18 transgenders. Out of 5,73,220 prisoners, 23,772 were female prisoners and 97 were transgender. Among the 1,537 female prisoners, there are 1,764 children with them as of December 31, 2022. The majority of female prisoners are in the age group of 30-50 years, followed by 18-30 years. The 2018 Women in Prison Report highlighted that the population of women in prisons has increased drastically.

This created problems for the prison authorities regarding the health and hygiene of female prisoners. A Supreme Court-appointed committee headed by former Supreme Court judge Justice Amitava Roy has prepared a report on the conditions of women prisoners in Indian jails. The report contains recommendations to improve the condition of women prisoners, which needs to be improved, which is a serious problem. She says that "women in prison suffer the onslaught of incarceration far worse than their male counterparts, particularly in terms of access to basic facilities". In our society, the taboo associated with menstruation prevents an open debate about menstrual health. Because of this, women and girls are incredibly ignorant about menstrual health. This ignorance is more glaring in prisons, where female inmates experience various discriminatory practices related to their gender, incarceration and menstruation.

The term "menstrual health rights" is used by the United Nations Population Fund (UNPF) to refer to menstrual hygiene management as well as broader systemic issues, including health, gender, education, equality and empowerment, related to menstruation. In some institutions, women were allegedly paid for sanitary napkins or were allocated a certain number of napkins that was not enough for their needs. While some prisoners might ask their family for the necessary sanitary pads during mulaqats, another obstacle is the stigma associated with "menstruation". As a result, women are forced to use unclean items such as rags, cloths, ashes and old sanitary napkins.


Indian Journal of Law and Legal Research

Abbreviation: IJLLR

ISSN: 2582-8878


Accessibility: Open Access

License: Creative Commons 4.0

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​All research articles published in The Indian Journal of Law and Legal Research are fully open access. i.e. immediately freely available to read, download and share. Articles are published under the terms of a Creative Commons license which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the IJLLR or its members. The designations employed in this publication and the presentation of material therein do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the IJLLR.

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