Sorry!! The article you are trying to read is not available now.
Thank you very much;
you're only a step away from
downloading your reports.

Low Inflation? Not in Prison

By

Behind bars, the economy is strong.

PrintPRINT
A "Fiend Book", or a pornographic magazine, goes for as few as 40 macks (if it's out-of-date and stained …use your imagination) and as many as 100 (if it's reasonably up-to-date and bodily fluid-free).

Craving a bit of heroin? Be prepared to fork over 50 macks.

And, if it's a cellphone you're after, that'll be 400 macks, please.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Mark Muntz, president of supplier Global Source, said his company unloaded about $1 million worth of mackerel to commissaries in federal penitentiaries last year, though it's not particularly popular elsewhere.

"We've even tried 99-cent stores," he said. "It never has done very well at all, regardless of the retailer, but it's very popular in the prisons."

While inmates are spending more money on the inside, their keepers are looking for new sources of funds.

Prisons have always put their inmates to work on jobs like grounds keeping, food service, painting, and plumbing. But The Nation reports that, over the past two decades, inmates have also been hired to stitch Victoria's Secret (LTD) lingerie and assemble Nintendo Game Boys and mouses from Microsoft (MSFT). The companies award the contracts to prisons for the low-priced labor, and the wardens put the prisoners to work for even lower wages.

The labor possibilities are endless. To quote the UNICOR Federal Prison Industries website's "Contact Center" section: "Imagine ... All the benefits of domestic outsourcing at offshore prices. It's the best kept secret in outsourcing!"

New York State seems to be in on the secret. If you've called the Department of Motor Vehicles to inquire about a registration issue or renew your license, there's a chance you were helped by an inmate at Staten Island's Arthur Kill Correctional Facility.

The program saves the state about $2 million a year, with inmates fielding between 3,000 and 4,000 calls a day. At a few cents an hour for each operator, routing inquiries to India suddenly looks mighty expensive.

All told, commissary prices may be high and offenders' wages low, but prison life seems to suit some given their options on the outside.

Al Wright, superintendent of the Rockingham County, New Hampshire, House of Corrections, said he recently received requests from two inmates that they be kept behind bars even after serving out their sentences.

"My take on it is the economy is dumping so far that jail isn't looking as bad," Wright said.

Even if you do have to pay $0.90 for a lousy Chick-O-Stick.
No positions in stocks mentioned.
The information on this website solely reflects the analysis of or opinion about the performance of securities and financial markets by the writers whose articles appear on the site. The views expressed by the writers are not necessarily the views of Minyanville Media, Inc. or members of its management. Nothing contained on the website is intended to constitute a recommendation or advice addressed to an individual investor or category of investors to purchase, sell or hold any security, or to take any action with respect to the prospective movement of the securities markets or to solicit the purchase or sale of any security. Any investment decisions must be made by the reader either individually or in consultation with his or her investment professional. Minyanville writers and staff may trade or hold positions in securities that are discussed in articles appearing on the website. Writers of articles are required to disclose whether they have a position in any stock or fund discussed in an article, but are not permitted to disclose the size or direction of the position. Nothing on this website is intended to solicit business of any kind for a writer's business or fund. Minyanville management and staff as well as contributing writers will not respond to emails or other communications requesting investment advice.

Copyright 2011 Minyanville Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
PrintPRINT

Busy? Subscribe to our free newsletter!

Submit
 

WHAT'S POPULAR IN THE VILLE