Each correctional institution has a store specifically for inmates called a commissary. Generally, inmates can purchase a variety of items from the commissary such as food, toiletries, phone cards, radios and even televisions. Inmates can only purchase items from commissary on specific days, depending on the prison.
Inmates are not allowed to have currency in their possession. Correctional institutions provide each inmate with a commissary account. All money sent to an inmate is put on the inmate’s commissary account. Money on an inmate’s commissary account is used to pay for items purchased from the commissary store.
Certified checks and money orders can sometimes take weeks to be put on the inmate’s commissary account because of postal and processing delays. With JPay, the money is generally credited to the inmates account by the following morning. For more information about a particular state’s timing schedule or service fees, please sign up for a free account.
Most correctional institutions issue paper receipts to the inmates when money has been put on their account. Sometimes inmates are not notified when money has been put on their account because of location complications.