The Product in Jail is Simply the Prisoners Doing Nothing

Criminal Justice: States Profit From Prisoners, Families Pay | Time

The effect on poor families is especially harsh, Nelson says: “It’s a wife that has three children at home, and her husband is in jail, so now she has a choice: Do I send money to him so he can afford to stay in touch with the kids, or do I feed the kids?”

Inmates’ need for money is inescapable, Nelson says. Those in Northern Illinois are not issued cold-weather clothes, he says, leaving them vulnerable to frostbite unless they can get money to pay for prison-approved long underwear and boots.

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