Monday, August 05, 2013

Orange Is the New Black: A Year in a Women's Prison:

LS: The fact that such basic needs aren't provided for is one of the surprising things in reading the book. So is the whole commissary system, particularly how much they charge for things that would be cheaper in the outside world -- like a portable headset radio for $42.90 that "would have cost about $7 on the street." In the meantime, prisoners are making basically slave wages for the work they do.

PK: Yeah. At Danbury, as I understood it, the commissary sales were what funded any programs that were offered. Programs that, in fact, were required -- you were required to "program" as part of the terms of your incarceration. Those were all funded by commissary sales. I think some folks look at the commissary system and say, "Well, why should they be able to buy anything?" But at Danbury those purchases fund any programs that exist.