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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

VA DOC Can No Longer Afford Hand Soap

3 hours of labor for a small bar of this 
Finances must be getting tight in Virginia's Department of Corrections. Here's a notice that was recently posted for inmates at one of the Commonwealth's state prisons:

TO:  OFFENDER POPULATION

FROM: EARL R. BARKSDALE, WARDEN

DATE:  OCTOBER 1, 2013

Effective November 1, 2013, BKKC will no longer issue Lisa Soap to all offenders. Lisa Soap will ONLY be issued to indigent offenders as part of the indigent package. All other offenders must purchase soap from the Commissary.

Meanwhile, the cost of a bar of commissary soap ranges from 78¢ for a small bar of Irish Spring to $1.61 for the Coast brand at this particular facility, but the minimum hourly wage for prison labor is only 27¢ (45¢ an hour for skilled jobs). And thirty earning hours a week is the maximum allowed.

Most of those who do have jobs, an estimated 15%, according to my source, are paid at the lowest 27¢ rate for a maximum earning of $8.10, with 5% of that deducted for any outstanding court fines and/or child support payments. Most inmates must also pay for their own toothpaste, deodorant or any other self-care or snack items, or for things like a plastic spoon (5¢) or a plastic coffee cup (74¢).

Persons who are fortunate enough to have friends or family to provide spending money for them have 5% of that deducted for any fines or court costs and 10% for a forced savings of up to $1000 to be available upon release.

The majority of the guys, I'm told, are too embarrassed to have anyone know they have to rely on a monthly indigent package (two bars of soap, a small toothbrush, a razor, 4 oz. shampoo and cheap roll on deodorant) so they pass on it--or beg, borrow or steal.

Sad.
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