Woman sues Clark County Jail over denial of feminine hygiene products

Published: Jun. 1, 2016 at 5:02 AM EDT
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News and Tribune

JEFFERSONVILLE, IN (News and Tribune) - A Jeffersonville woman is suing Clark County and its current and most recent sheriffs after she was denied feminine hygiene products while incarcerated in 2014.

Melissa Houghlin, 36, said she was forced to sit and sleep in her own menstrual blood for 36 hours in a holding cell and received no products despite multiple requests.

A lawsuit was filed Tuesday morning in the United States District Court in the Southern Indiana division.

"By denying these items to women inmates at the Clark County Jail," the lawsuit states, "defendants have violated and are violating the prohibition against cruel and unusual punishments under the Eighth Amendment and the prohibition against punishment of pretrial detainees under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution."

Laura Landenwich, Houghlin's attorney, said the jail has no written policy on distribution of feminine products. She said she has received several calls from other women who shared experiences similar to Houghlin's, though no one has joined the class action lawsuit yet.