Louisiana lawmakers back new guidelines for women in prison

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BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - New guidelines governing how female prisoners should be treated in Louisiana's prisons have received final legislative passage.

The measure by Democratic Sen. Regina Barrow requires female prisoners to have access to feminine hygiene products at no cost, after concerns that some women have been forced to pay for them.

The legislation also limits when male prison guards can conduct a pat-down or body-cavity search on a woman and limits when male guards can enter areas where women may be undressed.

The Senate's 37-0 vote on Monday sent the bill to the governor.

The House previously voted 86-0 for the measure. The debate had grown contentious when Republican Rep. Kenny Havard criticized it as offering unequal treatment by gender.

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