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New policy prohibits visitors from wearing tampons inside Virginia prisons

(Rich Pedroncelli / AP)

RICHMOND, Va. (WSET) -- A new Virginia Department of Corrections policy will prohibit visitors from wearing feminine hygiene products, like tampons, inside prisons in Virginia.

A letter addressed to offenders and visitors of Nottoway Correctional Center last week explained that, effective October 6, the use of tampons and/or menstrual cups will no longer be allowed during 'visitation' in response to recent inquiries of feminine hygiene products being used to smuggle contraband into jails.

'The use of tampons and/or menstrual cup hygiene items will be prohibited during visitation,' the letter stated.

A VDOC spokesperson told WRIC in Richmond that the policy is aimed to keep contraband from entering prison facilities.

"If someone chooses to visit a Virginia Department of Corrections inmate, he or she cannot have anything hidden inside a body cavity," Virginia Department of Corrections Director of Communications Lisa Kinney explained. "There have been many instances in which visitors have attempted to smuggle drugs into our prisons by concealing those drugs in a body cavity, including the vagina. In consultation with the Attorney General’s office, it was decided that facilities would offer pads to women who are wearing tampons while visiting a prison so the tampons don’t appear as possible contraband on a body scan."

They said facilities would offer pads to women in need who are visiting inmates so that tampons don't appear as contraband on the required security body scan.

When potential contraband is seen on a body scan, visitors will be offered the choice of a strip search or leaving the facility.

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