Ecuador’s jails to go money-free with new commissary model

02 de mayo de 2013 11:00

To cut back on the ubiquity of black market trade within the penal system, Ecuador is trying out a pilot program at the Guayaquil Litoral Penitentiary for a cash-free commissary store. 

Currently, inmates can legally purchase items such as rice, eggs, milk, plantain, oil, personal hygiene products and junk food within most prisons. But the money their family members on the outside bring in for them also goes towards illegal purchases, like alcohol, cigarettes, drugs and weapons.

At the new commissary stores in the Litoral penitentiary, inmates can stock up on the legal items, but instead of paying with money, their purchases are marked on a list. Their family members on the outside can pay off the prisoner’s tab by making deposits through the mail, cashier’s cheque, over the phone, at specific government offices or by making a deposit at the Prisoner’s Bank (Banco del Recluso).

The Minister of Justice says so far, the new stores are working sucessfully. 

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