How Does Commissary Deposit for Inmates Work?

Commissary deposit provides funds for incarcerated people to use inside the jail or prison. Inmates use these funds to purchase toiletries, food and other items at the facility's commissary.

Commissary deposit rules vary from institution to institution, as well as from county level jails to prisons. County jails typically accept money orders or cash delivered in person. Some county jails have ATM-like machines that accept money on behalf of the inmate, who is then notified of funds available and can use these funds to purchase goods.

Family and friends can send commissary deposits to inmates using money orders sent via U.S. mail. Many prisons also use online deposit systems such as JPay. These online systems allow the sender to use a credit or debit card to deposit funds directly into the inmate's account.

Commissary deposits are usually subject to a minimum and maximum amount allowed to be deposited. The facility has all rules related to commissary deposits either on its website or at the facility itself. Senders need the inmate's identification number, the facility information and information on facility rules for deposits.

An inmates should check to determine for what commissary funds may be used without his knowledge. For example, rules may allow the institution to deduct for haircuts or medical care.