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Old 06-16-2018, 05:16 PM
5bai56 5bai56 is offline
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Default How much money is enough for an inmate's commissary account?

Hi I posted this question under jail specific thread but haven't had a response. I'd like to know if anybody has any input as to how much money is enough for an inmates commissary account? Thanks in advance :-)
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Old 06-16-2018, 05:20 PM
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Hey Sis,

If you can't get an answer here, I would suggest calling the prison and asking. That way you'll know how much he can spend each month, if they take any of what you send for restitution, etc.,

Good Luck

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Hi I posted this question under jail specific thread but haven't had a response. I'd like to know if anybody has any input as to how much money is enough for an inmates commissary account? Thanks in advance :-)
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Old 06-16-2018, 05:37 PM
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I believe they “can” spend $95 every two weeks, but that’s an excessive amount after they buy their initial supplies like a fan and hotpot.

My husbands fanily sent him roughly $100 every 6 weeks and that was plenty for him to buy hygiene and enough food so that he rarely ate in the chow hall. He could’ve survived on much less.

His overall opinion was that anything more than $100 was excessive and the person spending more than that was probably into something they shouldn’t be (gambling, drugs, etc).

Also, bear in mind that they’ll deduct $100/year if he uses medical/dental and I believe they can take up to 50% of what you put in for restitution and whatnot.
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Old 06-17-2018, 08:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WeepingWillow View Post
I believe they “can” spend $95 every two weeks, but that’s an excessive amount after they buy their initial supplies like a fan and hotpot.

My husbands fanily sent him roughly $100 every 6 weeks and that was plenty for him to buy hygiene and enough food so that he rarely ate in the chow hall. He could’ve survived on much less.

His overall opinion was that anything more than $100 was excessive and the person spending more than that was probably into something they shouldn’t be (gambling, drugs, etc).

Also, bear in mind that they’ll deduct $100/year if he uses medical/dental and I believe they can take up to 50% of what you put in for restitution and whatnot.
Thank you very much. I apologize for being all over the place on here. I'm not good at all figuring out where to post and how to reply. I'm not sure this is even the correct way to respond back. But I do appreciate your response and moving or deleting when needed. I am aware of the $95 every 2 weeks spending limit and other possible deductions. I understood initially he'd need more. Anyway...I could ramble on :-) thanks again
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Old 06-17-2018, 08:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WeepingWillow View Post
I believe they “can” spend $95 every two weeks, but that’s an excessive amount after they buy their initial supplies like a fan and hotpot.

My husbands fanily sent him roughly $100 every 6 weeks and that was plenty for him to buy hygiene and enough food so that he rarely ate in the chow hall. He could’ve survived on much less.

His overall opinion was that anything more than $100 was excessive and the person spending more than that was probably into something they shouldn’t be (gambling, drugs, etc).

Also, bear in mind that they’ll deduct $100/year if he uses medical/dental and I believe they can take up to 50% of what you put in for restitution and whatnot.
I know this is Texas but in Florida $100. a month was not enough.
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Old 06-17-2018, 11:32 AM
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How much is enough? It is what you can afford that is enough. Never put yourself in a financial pickle because of your incarcerated loved one. Remember, they put themselves there, not you. They have a roof over their head and are fed. The food may not be the best, but oh well. They're not out in the free world paying bills. You are.
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Old 06-17-2018, 01:57 PM
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Here's the Texas prison's commissary price list. If he tells you what he wants to buy, you can find out how much it will cost.
https://www.tdcj.state.tx.us/documen...t_10-16-17.pdf
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Old 06-17-2018, 05:13 PM
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$50 a week was good for all he needed and he saved while in there too. $125 pair of shoes for his birthday.
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Old 06-18-2018, 07:59 AM
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We send $100 a month and in January put another $100 in for medical. It seems like it isn't enough because she's always calling her dad asking him to ask us for something else. I'm considering altering our monthly donation.
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Old 06-18-2018, 10:33 AM
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Quote:
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$50 a week was good for all he needed and he saved while in there too. $125 pair of shoes for his birthday.
Okay that's on average $200. a month. that's about right in my opinion as they have to buy just about everything including TP if they use more then 1 roll every 2 weeks!!!
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Old 06-18-2018, 03:50 PM
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Quote:
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I know this is Texas but in Florida $100. a month was not enough.
Here in Florida, my hubby goes through about $100/week.
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Old 06-18-2018, 05:22 PM
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What you can afford. Period.
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Old 06-18-2018, 07:12 PM
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Default How much money is enough for an inmate's commissary account?

Quote:
Originally Posted by xolady View Post
Okay that's on average $200. a month. that's about right in my opinion as they have to buy just about everything including TP if they use more then 1 roll every 2 weeks!!!


But like you said, you’re in a different state. The OP isn’t in Florida. They aren’t even ALLOWED to spend $200 a month here.
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Old 06-19-2018, 06:08 AM
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Quote:
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But like you said, you’re in a different state. The OP isn’t in Florida. They aren’t even ALLOWED to spend $200 a month here.
I realize that but I also read the commissary list and as usual the prices were jacked up. I know in Florida it used to be about $65.00 a week except certain things like sneakers and clothing didn't count towards their limit. But not everyone can afford to go to the linits and shouldn't if they can't.
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Old 06-22-2018, 09:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LifeTraveler View Post
How much is enough? It is what you can afford that is enough. Never put yourself in a financial pickle because of your incarcerated loved one. Remember, they put themselves there, not you. They have a roof over their head and are fed. The food may not be the best, but oh well. They're not out in the free world paying bills. You are.
Thanks for your reply. My point in asking isn't about what I can afford. I'm trying to determine an adequate amount. He's doing his time. I don't feel the need to be punitive toward my son. However I am aware that inmates can be and I use this word carefully, extorted, or ask for more money to engage in drugs and gambling. So ...I'm fishing around to get as much input as I can to make an informed decision. Thanks :-)
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Old 06-22-2018, 10:45 AM
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Go online and check the commissary list. Call the prison. The amount you can put on the account varies in each prison.

What does he need on a daily/weekly/monthly basis? Start from there..
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Old 06-22-2018, 01:25 PM
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Go online and check the commissary list. Call the prison. The amount you can put on the account varies in each prison.

What does he need on a daily/weekly/monthly basis? Start from there..

Incorrect, regarding the amount you can deposit varies.
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Old 06-22-2018, 10:06 PM
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I always advise clients that they should not keep more on the books than they can spend in two spend periods. The balance prints out and you don't want other offenders knowing you have discretionary funds. Plus they are not interest-bearing accounts.

An offender who gets ~$170 per month is basically at their maximum spend and will be able to live quite comfortably within Texas prisons. Blue slip purchases (those items requiring property papers) and items through ecomm ($65 every quarter as I recall) do not count against the bi-weekly spend.

But as noted, send NO MORE that YOU can afford. You didn't put him in prison- he did that to himself. You don't have to sacrifice so he can have an extra package of Ho-Ho's.
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Old 06-26-2018, 03:21 PM
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Quote:
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I always advise clients that they should not keep more on the books than they can spend in two spend periods. The balance prints out and you don't want other offenders knowing you have discretionary funds. Plus they are not interest-bearing accounts.



An offender who gets ~$170 per month is basically at their maximum spend and will be able to live quite comfortably within Texas prisons. Blue slip purchases (those items requiring property papers) and items through ecomm ($65 every quarter as I recall) do not count against the bi-weekly spend.

But as noted, send NO MORE that YOU can afford. You didn't put him in prison- he did that to himself. You don't have to sacrifice so he can have an extra package of Ho-Ho's.
Good to know! I have called the Middleton Unit. I was told inmate "can" spend up to $95.00 every 2-weeks. The representative did state that would be "considerably generous". I have seen what I assume is the most recent price list for commissary. I would like to ask you this question, how would other offenders be able to see that an inmate may have "discretionary" funds? I mean the balance print outs are just out there for anybody to see? Since I'm new to this and clearly there are trust issues with my LO, I wouldn't feel the need to ask more experienced people :-) And I also wonder that if my LO is asking for more, why might he be doing so. I worry you know? I imagine the horror stories one might experience in prison. That being said, I've learned when help isn't helping. Thanks to all with responses, input and suggestions.
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Old 06-26-2018, 06:32 PM
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Quote:
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I would like to ask you this question, how would other offenders be able to see that an inmate may have "discretionary" funds? I mean the balance print outs are just out there for anybody to see?
Aside from the SSI in the commissary potentially seeing the receipt as the transaction is processed, the paperwork kept by the offender making the purchase would have the information. Additionally, there is (or at least used to be) a monthly statement sent out showing transaction amounts, not unlike a bank statement...funds in and funds out...and more critically for this discussion, a balance at the beginning of the cycle and the balance at the end of the cycle.
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Old 06-27-2018, 10:27 AM
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They do still print out monthly statements with all the details of the past month's transactions at TDCJ.


My Husband just tells me what he needs/wants each spend period. Basically when he got back (from a bench warrant recently, but he's been in 8 1/2 years at this point) I put in $95 to start so he had a full spend. Once he spent from that he let me know what he would need the next time, and so on. So let's say he spent $40 of the $95 he may say he's good for the next store run since he still has some leftover. Then it's up to him to figure out what he needs or wants the next time he goes to store. Plus, I feel it gives him responsibility to manage what he has and communicate about what he wants and needs.



He also will let me know if he wants to do a blue slip purchase and I'll deposit for that when needed. We also do Ecomm each quarter and normally just do a full one as soon as the quarter opens up.



We also keep track of when the $100 health fee is coming up and I'll put in for that to be fully taken out. We don't have any other fees that come out of his trust fund. We have a direct bill account for the phone, which I prefer over the other types.


And again, like others have said, don't stretch yourself thin in this. Prison isn't cheap by any means. It's our personal preference and ability to spend what we spend. And my Husband is fully involved with our finances. We go over expenses and income each month and talk about all our purchases. But again, to each his own.
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Old 06-27-2018, 10:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CenTexLyn View Post
Aside from the SSI in the commissary potentially seeing the receipt as the transaction is processed, the paperwork kept by the offender making the purchase would have the information. Additionally, there is (or at least used to be) a monthly statement sent out showing transaction amounts, not unlike a bank statement...funds in and funds out...and more critically for this discussion, a balance at the beginning of the cycle and the balance at the end of the cycle.

Thank you for further explaining. My LO is my 41 yr old son. He's not real happy about needing mom :-) He feels a good amount of shame for having put himself in this position. Sad part is his 1st time was for under a gram for possession of controlled substance. His wife at the time and he made the decision that he'd take a 7 month prison rather than probation. Not sure why that seemed the way. But that's what they decided. That was back in 2006. Things began to unravel for them, she had an affair, they stayed together, then a baby stillborn, then their home burned completely down due to lightning strike,. It may sound like I'm making excuses, but I'm not. Fast forward, he was arrested for felon in possession of a weapon. He was going to end his life. By this time she had left, took children, filed for divorce. We did find him before he did it. Said the reason he couldn't go through was fear that God wouldn't forgive him. To be fair, he had begun using and gambling, became impossible to deal with. So he's doin 2yrs for weapons possession. Wow, I know I just poured out a lot of personal information. Please forgive the TMI. I don't have anyone to share all this with that can relate :-) Y'all all have my sincerest respect and gratitude for taking t h e time to read, share my thoughts, and responses :-)
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