According to an Oct. 2009 article by David M. Reutter entitled ‘Florida DOC and Keefe Gouge Prisoners on Commissary Sales’, the cost of items in Florida’s prison canteens has skyrocketed. Florida law requires that items sold in prison canteens “shall be priced comparatively with like items for retail sale at fair market prices.” The example is given of a plain #10 white envelope which costs $.15 each in the prison. That equates to $15.00 per 100 envelopes. On the outside you can buy 100 envelopes for about $2.00 and send them to the prison, 15 at a time. Your total cost is $.30 for the envelopes + postage – a huge savings for the person financing the inmate. The article also states that in some cases, Keefe sells individual items at inflated prices that are clearly marked “This unit is not labeled for individual sale,” Some of these items are Coffee-mate creamer, Pop-tarts, Quaker Oatmeal and cereal bars. Even honey buns went from $.61 to $1.49 each. According to the article, if there is no intervention or corrective action taken, Florida prisoners can expect a price increase of 10% annually under FDOC’s canteen contract with Keefe when the nation’s annual inflation rate is under 2%. And Keefe’s contract is in effect until 2014. Though coupons can’t be used in the canteen, good common sense can. When making your purchases, be mindful of the fact that the burden of cost digs deep into the pockets of family so spend wisely.
Prison Legal News – October 2009