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After Hurricane Harvey devastated Texas and Louisiana in late August, prison inmates in Texas reached out with a helping hand.
More than 6,600 incarcerated individuals in Texas dipped into their limited commissary funds to donate to the American Red Cross, pooling together more than $53,000 for Harvey relief efforts.
The surprising number comes from a Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesperson, and the funds were donated between Aug. 31 and Sept. 30. The 6,600 inmates gave an average of $8 per person.
That might not sound like much, but prisoners don’t have access to their normal bank accounts or cash, which means the funds were all taken out of their commissary funds. Commissary funds are prison-specific money accounts that can be used to purchase small items from prison commissaries (things like cough drops, Oreos, and postage stamps).
Prisoners’ commissary accounts are usually funded by friends, family members, or through wages made by working prison jobs. Most of the damage that Hurricane Harvey caused was in the area around Houston, Texas, with 89 reported deaths and countless destroyed homes, cars, and more. The devastation sparked an outpouring of support around the world and even from prisons.