By Richard McDonald
The commissary varies by prison. In my experience in a federal camp, I had access to a well-stocked prison commissary. You’ll get assigned a specific day when you can visit the commissary and must follow the rules.
Can you buy medicine at the prison commissary?
Medical items are available daily in the commissary. You don’t have to wait for the day you shop to get medical items from the commissary. Medical items include pain relief medicine such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen.
There are only a few name brands of over the counter medicines in the commissary. For allergies, there are Claritin non-drowsy and regular allergy tablets. I noticed that regular allergy tablets were popular as a sleep aid.
The prison commissary does not offer any specific PM-labeled medicine to help with sleep. There is also Vitamin A, B, C and D available in tablet form. The only steroid available is hydrocortisone cream.
The most expensive medical item in the commissary is Nasacort nasal spray at $18.75. Tolnaftate is a must for athletes’ foot and rashes.
Cough drops and cough syrup are on the commissary list. The cough syrup is non-drowsy and does not contain any alcohol.
Medical items for stomach relief include Pepto Bismol and stool softeners. The different options for heartburn/acid reflux are antacid tablets and Prilosec. The antacid tablets run a little less than $3.00 while Prilosec costs almost $14.00.
Overall, the commissary has a decent number of medical items available to buy.
Does the prison commissary sell clothing?
Yes. Shower shoes or shower sandals should be the first thing you buy from the prison commissary. Shower shoes cost about $7 and shower sandals about $2. These protect your feet as you shower in public showers.
The prison will issue you three pairs of standard boxers upon arrival. You can buy higher quality boxers/underwear in the commissary. A three-pack will cost about $7, and it is well worth it.
There is a good variety of work-out clothing available. Items include sweatpants, shorts, t-shirts and tank tops. There are many sizes available up to 5XL. Sweatpants cost about $18.00, while shorts cost about $12. There are all different types of socks available to buy from short socks to knee highs.
Does the commissary offer electronic devices?
Yes. There are a few electronic options in the commissary. Music can be a life-saver in prison. The commissary sells different items for listening to music. You can buy an AM/FM radio. This will cost about $23.
The more advanced option is to buy an MP3 player. MP3 players allow you to download specific songs purchased from the Corrlinks system. Songs cost $1.35 each. The MP3 player is one of the higher priced items in the prison commissary at $88.
You can also buy watches. There are three types of watches on the commissary list. They are all Timex brands. The least expensive option costs around $25. There is an intermediate watch for $49. The most expensive is the Timex G-Shock watch. The current price is $95.
The prison commissary offers a range of items for personal use. Like traditional retail stores, different items have different prices. The cost of items in the commissary depends on the quality of the item.