Word Is…

Word Is is a new kind of news brought to you by AWRN and provided by Alabama’s women in prison.  Word Is posts are comprised of the talk in the dorms, cells, and yards of Alabama’s women prisons and speak to the conditions the women live in, as well as invaluable ideas to improve prison life and reduce incarceration. 

And now, Word Is… 

Incentive boxes

“Idea on [incentive] boxes we receive from these out of state companies: Alabama needs to keep their business within their own state, stop sending and spending their money out of their own state…contract with whoever, they will be glad to get the contract with the prison system to provide us with our clothing needs and personal hygiene for our incentive boxes we get a couple times a year.  ADOC [could] purchase the goods and place them in the store. That way we can purchase what we need at any time, not having to wait until those couple times a year—since they will not let us receive them from home anymore.  This company [current one] charges us $5 for one t-shirt that I can get 3 in a pack at Wal-Mart for $5. So, if ADOC were to sell them say for 3 in a pack at $10 I would purchase them–that is much better than paying $5 for one t-shirt and they are making a profit.  That would eliminate us dealing with outside companies that often rip us off and our families and having to deal with shipment of boxes along with [providing prison administrators the opportunity to shift] much needed manpower somewhere else other than giving out boxes.”


There is now a sandwich shop up and running at Tutwiler.  The shop has been received as a good thing—prisoners know it as a way for the system to make money, but appreciate having an alternative to the food usually served.


Phone service has always been a problem.  Word is that the new phone company the prisons have contracted with is no better than the last company.  Families have been ripped-off by the new company, and conversations are interrupted by recordings or by connection issues where one caller cannot hear the other party.  When the company tries to reconnect the call, many minutes (expensive minutes at that) are wasted.

One idea a woman shared would be for Alabama to purchase phone cards in bulk so that rates are more affordable at the purchase end for ADOC and therefore more affordable for the women using them too. 

Move past it

“One area that sticks out which we could have something done about—harassment about our hair.  Why is it? We should be left alone.  As long as our hair is not a health risk, kept clean, neat, lice-free, leave us alone about our hair.  They [prison administrators/correctional officers] need to get past this.

They can’t even clear count.  We sit on our bed for 2 and 3 hours at a time or stand outside in the cold or heat if you work at the factory or go to trade school awaiting them to clear count.  Point—it seems to me they have more to be concerned about than worrying about our hair.”


One Response

  1. I would really love to hear more about this incentive box issue…that is terrible!

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