Prison store rip-offs
PRICES SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT PRIOR NOTICE
No Substitutions or Add-ons. All sales Final. No Returns! Store Limited to once a week. Spending Limit $60.00.* No Store without ID card.
*Revised 1-16-15 K-G HOUSE INMATE STORE LIST
The administrators of the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification State Prison (GD+CP), by every one of their actions (or inactions), are teaching prisoners that money is their sole motivation for everything great and small. It seems that they have forgotten that 95 per cent of state prisoners, along with those prisoners’ families and friends, are very poor.
A prison store is a smaller institution within each state prison. There is a lot of outrageous price-gouging and, yes, frequently immoral, even illegal, prison-store policies set firmly in place by various prison administrators.
A few years ago, G-Unit prisoners were given permission to purchase a battery-operated Clear Tunes AM/FM radio. It sells here for $10.40. If you were to buy it on the outside, from a retail outlet, it would likely cost less than half that price. The same applies to the Jenson AM/FM CD player, which sells – in this facility – for $54. Even a legal pad is exorbitantly priced: $1.35 will get you a third-rate flawed legal pad that would only cost 79 cents on the outside.
Sentry digital stereo earbuds are $1.56. On the surface, that reads like a real bargain. Right? Wrong: at least half of the more than 27 sets of earbuds that I have purchased here are deficient with dry-rotted cable and blow out very quickly. I recently had a pair that burned out on one side less than a half hour after they were handed to me! I returned them to the prison store. Mr Fisher, one of the store operators, sent them back to me. According to Lieutenant Piercy, Mr Fisher had said that there was ‘nothing wrong with them’. The back side of the earbuds’ package reads: LIMITED ONE-YEAR WARRANTY: Sentry warrants this product to be free from defects in materials… and workmanship for one year from the date of original purchase. This warranty does not pertain to damage resulting from accident, abnormal use, misuse or neglect. Any defective product will be replaced if returned to an authorized Sentry dealer [I consider the GD+CP an ‘authorized Sentry dealer’] or to Sentry directly at: PO Box 885, One Bridge St Hillburn, NY 10931 MADE IN CHINA - PLEASE RECYCLE - WWW.SENTRYINDUSTRIES.COM.
This kind of customer-abuse is what happens when prison administrators allow the monopolization of sales, of a specific item, and/or service to huge numbers of state prisoners, who are at the mercy of unscrupulous vendors and their cronies (the word kick-backs springs to mind) inside, and outside of their prisons’ politics. At this writing there is also only one vendor from whom prisoners’ family members and friends can purchase food-packages and personal-care items. I have evidence that some Access Securepak behaviour is illegal; and the prison administrators here are fully aware of it. More on that later.
Approximately 2 years ago I purchased an inexpensive pair of leather and rubber shoes from Access Securepak. Unfortunately, about 3 months after their arrival, the leather uppers separated completely from their rubber soles – over the course of two weeks!
I told my friend in England about the experience and she asked me to let her purchase a better-quality pair of shoes for me. She purchased the shoes from Access Securepak, of course; I am wearing them now. They are less than a year old and, yes, I can see where the leather uppers have begun their journey of eventual separation from the rubber sole, as if I have been wearing them for 5 years non-stop! (In my youth I had a very bad injury to my left foot which does not allow me to wear prison brogans. To combat the pain I only wear soft shoes.)
Meanwhile, logic and circumstances tell me that some prison vendors have ‘dry rot’ problems that they, and at least one prison, are not concerned about.
The behaviour of Access Securepak and the GD+CP need official attention: the instructive kind.
More than 6 months ago, the same friend (I will refer to her via her initials: Mrs C E B) ordered a box of food for me from Access Securepak. Unfortunately, it was never delivered to me, despite Mrs C E B having paid for it in advance. The kind woman still has no $50 refund or credit for a future purchase. The GD+CP and Access Securepak are both well aware of the problem and each recognizes that a $50 mistake has been made, but neither has sent, nor credited her with, $50.
On the back of Access Securepak’s order form it says that it offers:
4 WAYS TO ORDER:
Phone: 1 – 855 – 7685
Mail: Access Securepak (GA)
10880 Lin Page Place
St. Louis, MO 63132
Fax: 1 – 866 – 754 – 2813
My hope is that hundreds – no, thousands – of readers will use one, or more, of the 4 contact points above to vigorously complain to the folks who run such a shady business as Access Securepak has shown itself to be – to make sure that Mrs C E B is treated like a valued customer.
After you all do that, please drop me a letter into the mail too, because I would love to hear from all of you.
Please keep in mind that I am unable to communicate with you electronically. All of my communications will be in plain old-fashion handwritten letters. I will also try to print all names and numbers clearly so you will have no trouble reading them. I respectfully request that you do the same.
I am really, eagerly, looking forward to hearing from you, soon. Let us get to know each other soon and quickly. We do not have a lot of time left. Peace and love to you and yours.
Mr. Brandon Jones, UNO No. 400574; G3-81)
Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison
Post Office Box 3877
Jackson, Georgia 30233, USA
If you would like to write to Brandon, please note the following requirements: the prison name should be written in full and not abbreviated. The sender's name and address should also be included on the envelope.
Help us keep this site free for all
New Internationalist is a lifeline for activists, campaigners and readers who value independent journalism. Please support us with a small recurring donation so we can keep it free to read online.