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What is a Commissary

A commissary is a store within the correctional institution that sells various products the inmates can purchase with their own funds.  Often times the commissary sells clothing, shoes, snacks and food, as well as hygienic products like soap, shampoo, and shavers.  The commissary also sells entertainment products like books, magazines, televisions, radios, cards etc. Perhaps the most important thing that a commissary sells is paper, envelopes, and stamps.  To an inmate these are the best items because it allows the inmate to write to someone on the outside.  While some facilities will provide a small amount of stamps and paper to inmates who cannot afford it, not all prisons and jails will.  Many times people will write to their inmate and not get a letter back and it is simply for the reason that the inmate is unable to afford stamps and paper.  Commissary day is usually held once a week and can really only be enjoyed if the inmate has money in his or her commissary account.  An inmate's commissary account is like a bank account within the institution.

What Jail Commissary Items Are Available?

I know we have briefly touched on this subject, but let’s dive a bit deeper. There are many things available in the prison canteen. But please be aware this will be just a general list that can be found in many of the prison canteens throughout the United States.

Most canteens will offer:

  • Canned Meats
  • Beverages
  • Replacement Uniforms
  • Clothing (not uniforms)
  • Snacks
  • Food (to make for other meals)
  • Entertainment

Please be aware this is not everything you will see in the canteen, but you’ll find most of these items in your commissary.

Where Does the Money Come From?

There are three ways an inmate can get money into their commissary account.  The first way an inmate can get money for their commissary account is by working a job within the institution, usually for a menial pay.  The second way is if the inmate has some sort of trust fund, inheritance, or legal settlement.  The last way is by friends and family members sending them money.  And this is the purpose of JAILATM.COM.

To make funds available for an inmate to purchase items in the commissary is to go to JAILATM.COM and use a credit card to directly make a deposit.  Most common questions about an inmate's commissary account and using the website JAILATM.COM are at this website page.  You are encouraged to visit the website to more fully understand their policies.

JAIL ATM SUPPORT has tabs for:

  • Accounts
  • Deposits
  • Email
  • Commissary Packs
  • Video Visitations
  • SMS

Click on each tab and a list of commonly asked questions will appear for each category.  This should get you the answers you're looking for about how to use the website and help your friend or family member.  

To make a deposit, you will need three things:

  • Inmate's Name
  • Jacket Number
  • Name of facility where he or she is incarcerated.
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