Prison bill provokes testy gender debate in Louisiana House
BATON ROUGE - An effort to describe how Louisiana's female prisoners should be treated sparked testy exchanges in the House, as a male lawmaker criticized the measure as offering unequal treatment to women and men.
The bill would require female prisoners to have access to feminine hygiene products at no cost, amid concerns some women have been forced to pay for them. The measure also would limit when male prison guards can conduct a pat-down or body cavity search on a woman and add guidelines for how male guards enter areas of a prison where women are undressed.
Rep. Kenny Havard responded with an amendment to place similar limits on how female prison guards deal with male prisoners. It provoked an outcry from female lawmakers, who called it disrespectful. Havard withdrew the proposal.