Let’s Commiserate over Commissary and other Prison BS

I hate when people post bullshit memes like the one below [p.s. Sorry for the language, Grammy].

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First of all, this argument is just idiotic and ignorant because school kids can AND do get free or reduced meals if they qualify. In fact, the National School Lunch Program reports that 31 million children benefit from their program.

Secondly, those who are incarcerated are by no means “livin’ it up,” enjoying these “free” meals you speak of.  The Marshall Project, a nonpartisan, nonprofit news organization that seeks to create and sustain a sense of national urgency about the U.S. criminal justice system, provides more context in their article, “What’s In a Prison Meal.”

The Marshall Project reminds us that we live in Capitalist AmeriKKKa, where legislators advocate for decreasing the number of meals served to those incarcerated, all in the name of… you guessed it! Saving money.

I mean, who needs or deserves to eat quality, nutritional… shoot, even just edible food. Right? That’s so 2000 and late (almost as late as that corny joke).

Bull shit. [p.s. Sorry for the language, Grammy] but I’m pissed…. [oops, sorry again!]

On average, the daily cost to feed a person incarcerated is about $2.00 to $3.00.

Now, I’m C-H-E-A-P but I’m not that cheap. Untitled.png

That can’t even buy me a condiment that I must use because I like all my food saucy! There’s no such thing as “too much sauce.” Sorry, Future, you’re wrong on that one.

You tell me how you would sustain yourself on $3.00 a day.

Trust me, my cheap behind would LOVE to know.

To supplement the lack of food those incarcerated are provided, family and friends often provide funds or make direct commissary purchases on behalf of their loved one.

And let me tell you, that shit (literally, shit…because commissary often only offers bullshit food too), ain’t cheap [Dang, I should have just issued a blanket sorry for the language, Grammy].

With my brother currently incarcerated, I find my cheap behind making major life decisions.

Do I spend $3.00 on ONE can of off-brand tuna, knowing darn well I could buy a four pack of Starkist for that price at the grocery store? Maybe I’ll buy a pickle in a bag. Of course, pickles– especially, pickles in a bag- are comfort food. Right? But for $1.30 I could buy a jar of pickles. Bump that. Ramen! Ah, of course, Ramen! You can’t go wrong with Ramen! Oooop… for $1.00 a pack, yes… yes, you can go wrong with Ramen.

Now I’m sitting here feeling guilty, sipping on my fresh pineapple juice, debating if my brother “deserves” the human right of eating. I even found myself saying, “$1.89 for a pack of Koolaid? Bump that. That nigga can drink water.”  

It’s sickening.

And oppressive. 

And morally wrong.

Thankfully, I have the economic privilege to afford that $1.89 pack of Koolaid.

But what about those who don’t have the privilege to supplement the lack of food their loved one receives? If they had the money to pay for that oppressive Koolaid you’re dishin’ up, I’m sure they would. But it’s likely they don’t since we know the relationship between economic inequality/disparity and prison involvement.

Oh, I know what you conservatives are thinking! They work in jail. They can buy their own overpriced Koolaid. Duh!

I suppose you’re right… in theory.

Assuming someone working in– or enslaved in, as I like to say when it comes to this “work” thing you talk about- a privately-run prison works 11 hours at the lowest rate of 17 cents -YES, CENTS- per hour, they could afford that cup of Koolaid after 11 hours. However, this would take two days for them to earn because, at said facility, they cannot work more than six hours per day.

There we go. Problem solved.

Two days later and you can have all the Koolaid you want.

Well, not all the Koolaid.images.jpg

Just one glass, technically.

…. okay, now back to reality. You know, the reality where a Koolaid packet cost 15 cents; but that’s none of my business. 

You’re not paying $1.89 for a pack of Koolaid.

I damn sure ain’t paying $1.89 for a pack of Koolaid [Sorry, Grams. Language, I know…]. 

So why are we accepting this for those who are incarcerated? People who are probably incarcerated because of historical and systemic oppression… you know, those people who get ungodly sentences for low-level, non-violent crimes. Yeah, those Black and Brown people Because it IS about Race! Or, those people who are likely in jail as a result of a crime they committed due to an addiction, often resulting from unaddressed trauma.

Hey Capitalists: You’re already enslaving these people… do you really need to make a quick buck off of them and their family too?

5a42d93968de4cd66e363695cd57ef089c154637c613fae609967193847ae1a0.jpgI usually don’t condemn people to hell but I’d say there is a first class ticket with your Capitalist name on it if you advocate for or enforce these barbaric policies, let alone find them to be acceptable or deserving.

Just kidding. I just like that Oprah meme, in any fashion. But seriously, you may not be going to hell. I don’t know. It’s not my place to judge you on your lack of moral integrity.


Before you think I’m getting all radical, please know, I obviously believe in offender accountability. I work in the violence prevention field and see first hand the impact on individuals and society when perpetrators are not held accountable for their actions.

Despite that, I am a FIRM believer that regardless of what an incarcerated person has actually done or are accused of doing, they’re still humans; humans who deserve to be afforded basic human rights (i.e., food).

Even Maslow knows that.

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