EDITOR’S NOTE: In February of 2021, the Wisconsin prison system (DOC) decided to reduce companies providing commissary to incarcerated people from three to one. As we previously reported, the company they chose is Union Supply. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published an article about this upcoming change. Malik, who is incarcerated at Wisconsin Secure Program Facility (WSPF), sent us the following response to what MJS has published. We have added a couple notes and hyperlinks to sources, to expand on what Malik discusses.
As usual, rather than be forthright & truthful, the Wisconsin prison system (DOC), via their mouthpiece John Beard, is spewing lies, half truths & omitting significant information about this vendor situation. One key thing in the Journal Sentinel article is Beard’s statement about there being a “security” issue with having Marcus as a vendor because our people can go to the store & purchase items. In essence, he’s suggesting that our people & Marcus staff will conspire to put contraband in the products.
Prisoners are isolated to ordering solely from union supply as a contracted vendor… I’m under the impression it violates the consumers protection act where we are to have price competitiveness and is at contrast with the reasons the doc initially cited as their reasons to start the four original vendors contracts in 2007 or so, which included wider selection and “price competitiveness”. Please advise … and stop this unjust overtaxing of loved ones and prisoners hard earnings especially where union charges way more than others, takes three times the wait to deliver and puts families on hold hours to place orders. Also, where prisoners earn 5¢ per hour and doc takes 50% of hat 5¢ for restitution even hough courts imposed 25% and hen turn around and take another 10% for release accounts. Who is criminal in his situation?!!
—Jose Soto #307830, prisoner at Waupun Correctional Institution
The Wisconsin DOC is working towards only allowing one vendor to provide essentials to their captives: Union Supply. There’s a whole host of issues that come along with this, not least of which being that monopolies are historically price-gougers and unreliable, because there is no competition, so they can proceed however they want and do whatever maximizes profits, disregarding the needs and rights of the people they’re doing business with. Continue reading “Union Supply Monopoly”