Typical items available in jail commissaries include snack foods, sweets, staple foods, beverages, personal hygiene products and games, according to websites for The News-Herald and The Columbian. The snack foods include protein bars, chips and pork rinds. Sometimes inmates combine salty and spicy snacks with jailhouse food to improve flavor.
Popular sweets are cookies and candy bars, reports The Columbian. Sometimes these are mixed together by inmates with sugar cravings. Junk food is consumed to help pass the time and to supplement the three daily meals inmates receive.
Staples available for purchase include peanut butter, tuna and canned soup, according to The News Herald and The Columbian. Coffee is a favorite purchase as well. Inmates buy personal products such as shampoo, toothpaste, soap, aspirin and reading glasses. To help prisoners pass the time, commissaries sell playing cards, checkers and chess sets.
Inmates pay for commissary purchases with money they personally bring to the jail or with deposits made by family and friends, The News Herald and The Columbian explain. In general, commissaries are open a limited number of days each week. The money these stores earn is put back into their jail systems to pay for certain jail services, such as inmates' prescriptions, libraries, law books and GED classes.