What are the Different Types of Inmate Services?

Autumn Rivers

Prisons typically feature a variety of inmate services that benefit those who are incarcerated. They may either help inmates feel comfortable while locked up, or prepare them for life outside of incarceration. For example, there are often classes for inmates to take, allowing them to get their GED, improve reading and writing skills, or become better parents to their children. There are also often support groups that concentrate on reducing or eliminating drug and alcohol abuse. Many prisons also have a store, the proceeds of which typically go toward projects that benefit all inmates, such as a library, workout equipment, and television service.

Some prisons provide a wide range of activities.
Some prisons provide a wide range of activities.

One of the most widely spread inmate services includes classes, many of which are educational in nature. For instance, many prisons feature classes that teach inmates the skills they need to get their high school diploma via GED testing, as well as improve their reading, writing, and computing skills. Such classes can often help them get a job once they get back to their lives, or just keep them busy if they are not likely to get out anytime soon. There are also often classes available for inmates who wish to improve their parenting skills, manage their anger, or learn a particular ability, such as cooking, cutting hair, or applying makeup professionally.

Many prisons feature classes that teach inmates the skills they need to get their high school diploma via GED testing.
Many prisons feature classes that teach inmates the skills they need to get their high school diploma via GED testing.

Many inmates are in need of recovery from drug and alcohol addition, which is why inmate services typically include support groups for these problems. Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are just two of the various organizations that often send representatives to prisons to lead support groups for inmates. Many prisons also have their own distinctive groups to help lend support to inmates, either dedicated to a particular drug, or available to all inmates looking to recover from addiction in general.

While the majority of inmate services are free, some are available for a price, such as stores that are stocked with items that the typical prison does not otherwise offer. Some examples of items that can usually be found at prison stores are snacks, soap, socks, deodorant, writing instruments, stamps, plastic dishes, and desserts. Any profits made from the store often go toward inmate services that benefit the majority, called an inmate welfare fund. This may include exercise equipment, cable television, activities, classes, testing services, and a law library that allows inmates to understand more about the legal system. Any money made from telephone use in prison is also often donated to the inmate welfare fund.

Some inmate services prepare prisoners for life outside of incarceration.
Some inmate services prepare prisoners for life outside of incarceration.

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