5 Items Inmates Can Buy at the Prison Commissary

Toiletries in plastic bag

A commissary is an important location in any prison. These facilities provide inmates with access to important items they may not be able to obtain otherwise. Depending on the prison, the facility may offer different items that inmates can purchase. While specific products may vary from one location to another, there are general types of items that are available at prison commissaries. 

Inmates are given meals and sleeping quarters while they are serving time in prison. However, there are certain items they may not be able to obtain without visiting the commissary. These items are not free, and prisoners are responsible for buying whatever goods they want. Usually, prisoners obtain funds by working at the prison. Alternatively, their loved ones can send them money, which they can then use at the commissary. Regardless of which of these methods they use to obtain their funds, the following types of items are available for purchase at prison commissaries. 

Toiletries and Personal Hygiene Supplies

In prison, inmates have limited access to personal hygiene items they can use to keep themselves clean. At the commissary, however, these individuals are able to buy the following toiletries: 

  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Deodorant and soap 
  • Lotion and sunscreen

Clothing and Shoes 

There are different types of clothing items inmates can purchase from the prison commissary. Usually, individuals may want to purchase something to wear to help keep them warm in the winter or cool in the summer. Some items of clothing they can purchase include: 

  • Short-sleeved shirts and sweatshirts. 
  • Sneakers and shower shoes. 
  • Gloves and socks. 

Snacks and Seasonings 

Prisons are required to serve inmates three meals each day. However, many inmates want to supplement their meals with snacks and other treats. They may also want to add seasoning to the food they receive. As a result, inmates can buy the following items at the commissary: 

  • Candy and cakes 
  • Chips and pretzels 
  • Sugar, honey, salt and pepper 

Postage Supplies

Many inmates want to send letters to their friends and family. However, prisoners do not have access to postage supplies unless they buy it themselves. Therefore, prison commissaries offer inmates the option to purchase: 

  • Stamps. 
  • Pens and pencils. 
  • Envelopes. 

Entertainment Items 

Prison commissaries also sell entertainment items that inmates can purchase. Some of these items are activities prisoners can do alone, while others are games they can play with others. To help pass the time, inmates may be able to purchase: 

  • Chess sets and cards. 
  • Radios and headphones. 
  • Crochet needles and yarn.