At Least I Have My iPod While I’m iMprisoned

Folks, I can’t afford an iPod, but I am thinking about getting sent to prison so that I can get one much cheaper. That’s because the U.S Bureau of Prisons is about to allow prison commissaries across the country offer the devices for sale to their consumers. And their consumers are people who are incarcerated. Meaning…they’re prisoners.

The MP3 Program is being tested in a women’s prison in West Virginia. I wonder if its because women in prison want to hear Barry Manilow before they get taken advantage of? I know that’s the tactic my creepy Uncle Lester uses!


Traci Billingsley, the spokeswoman  for the Bureau of Prisons, believes that allowing inmates to listen to music will make prisons safer. She claims “The MP3 program is intended to help inmates deal with issues such as idleness, stress and boredom associated with incarceration.” I say if prisoners are bored, maybe we should make them work! Aren’t they supposed to be repaying their debt to society? How are they doing that? By listening to Jay-Z or Beyoncé?

Traci swears that no explicit songs will be allowed to download, nor will any songs that could endanger the security of the prison be available. She says this leaves about a million songs that are okay!

Unless those songs are all sung by Barney, I have a hard time agreeing to this program. Prisoners already get gym memberships, meals, shelter, and conjugal visits from women they meet on the internet, do they really need iPods too?

What’s next cable? What…they have that already?

Sounds like prisoners are a lot like teenagers…despite having all the luxuries of life – except freedom, and no responsibilities, they are still bored and need another luxury.

The real question is: “Why allow the people in prison to have these things?”

The answer is simple…it’s a business. See, prisons are mostly privatized and that means that the owners need to make money off the prisoners. The best way to do that is to open their version of a Wal-Mart inside the facility. This means that making a prison an uncomfortable hell hole isn’t profitable – making a prison an uncomfortable hell hole that you can upgrade is! The best part is that these items are sold for half the price or more of what they would cost to a non-incarcerated individual! For instance, at some prison stores in Pennsylvania, a pack of Marlboro’s sells for $2.83 a pack!

Since you can buy items, you can then barter those items with prisoners that can’t afford them! This means that you not only recreate the normal economy within the prison, but the black market as well! And since this would be a commodity like cigarettes…will people start killing each other for them?

I wonder if death by headphone strangulation will be listed as “natural causes?”

I also wonder what the future holds in this system that is designed to keep people in rather than rehabilitate and release. This means that instead of teaching people skills to survive with once they are released, they sell them socks, radios, and phone cards.

Pretty soon, going to prison will be like a yearly trip to summer camp…you really don’t want to go, but you will have a great time while you are there!



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