Last month, the Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act passed its last legislative hurdle before moving on to Governor Bill Lee’s desk. The State Senate and House both voted to enact the bill introduced in the Senate by Senator Harold Love, and introduced by Representative Katrina Robinson in the House.
The Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act ensures that state correctional facilities make necessary feminine hygiene items, such as tampons and sanitary pads, free and accessible to women, in addition to other essential hygiene items like non-lye soap, toothbrushes, and toothpaste.
Passing the Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act was a team effort, led in large part by Tray Johns, a community activist and formerly incarcerated woman themself who has co-served as #cut50’s Dignity Ambassador in Tennessee.
“I got involved with #DignityforIncarceratedWomen because I’m a formerly incarcerated woman. I’ve suffered many indignities being a male-identifying woman incarcerated.”Tray Johns
Johns spent the past year working with coalition partners including #cut50 and their own community driven advocacy group FedFam4Life building political alliances and cultivating empathy for women behind bars. Johns has worked tirelessly to ensure that the women most familiar with issues facing Tennessee’s incarcerated population are at the frontlines of this advocacy effort.
“We brought together formerly incarcerated women, women who have long been forgotten about and needed a voice. And we showed them that their voices matter, and that we can erect change.” – Tray Johns
Tray Johns is a male-identifying formerly incarcerated woman and community activist. They are the co-founder and executive director at FedFam4Life, a sisterhood of formerly incarcerated women and allies paving paths for black and LGBTQ women in the criminal justice movement. Tray has cultivated a robust network of formerly incarcerated women of color and allies across the country and in Tennessee and Florida especially, resulting in their most recent legislative victories in Tennessee and Florida. Tray is #cut50’s Dignity Ambassador for Tennessee.