Commissary Day

Food in prison…

When most pleasures are restricted in life, food becomes a really big deal. Prison camp food, at least in Lewisburg, is not bad. However, with the amount of exercise inmates partake in, they get hungry, and make extra meals.

These meals can be quite extraordinary… everything from pizza to asian rice bowls. Even with the supply of ingredients one can get in prison, inmates can make just about anything to eat. You really don’t have to settle for bland food.

Where do they purchase the food for these dishes? Inmates can shop weekly, at the prison camp commissary. At the commissary, just about everything can be purchased. Imagine a grocery store, but without perishable items. Anything that can be safely stored at room temperature is sold.

The commissary also sells OTC medication, clothes, workout equipment, MP3 players, radios, stationary, games, stamps, shoes, boots, toiletries and etc. If it’s sold at a CVS or Walgreens, then it will most likely be available through federal prison commissary. There is a limit on how much an inmate can spend on commissary. The limit currently is 360 dollars a month. Keep in mind, this limit does not include email/computer time. That is essentially limitless.

When one arrives at a prison camp, the following can be purchased: one radio (all TV audio is projected through radio frequencies), toothpaste, toothbrush, shaving cream, razors, lotion, deodorant, shampoo, soap, shower/shaving bag, 1 pair of shower shoes, 1 pair running shoes, 1 pair of comfortable boots, mp3 player, 5 pairs of socks, 5 boxers, 5 t shirts, 2 athletic shorts, 2 sweatshirts, 2 sweatpants, 2 books of stamps, pens, notebook, envelope, allergy pills, Ibuprofen, topical antibiotic (a simple scratch can get infected really quickly), multivitamins and enough food to make meals after dinner (the amount of food to order will depend on how often your prison camp allows you to have commissary).

Like everything, familiarity ahead of time is helpful, so get familiar with your designated prison’s commissary procedures. One lesser known fact is that the commissary list is available online at the BOP’s website, so you can view the commissary list prior to surrendering. You need to look at the commissary list and learn how to prepare meals ahead of time. Also, the prices of the items is also on the commissary list. This should give you a good idea of the amount of money that needs to be deposited in your inmate fund. Deposit that money on the day of your surrender.

In most places, new inmates can shop on there first day. Some preparation can make your transition to prison easier. There is nothing more disheartening than being hungry or uncomfortable due to a lack of commissary. So again, please prepare, prepare, prepare!

Until next time,

Shan Sultan



Shan Sultan worked as a medical doctor for 10 years before receiving a 48-month sentence for conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud. Shan was designated to Lewisburg Camp.

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