On February 16, 2014, Sri Lanka opened its first prison school in the Watareka prison. According to Chandrasiri Gajadeera, minister of rehabilitation and prison reform, the school will offer classes from the 9th grade through G.C.E. Ordinary level, the equivalent of a U.S. high school diploma. Students under the age of 30 who have passed
The other week I prepared to shop in the FCI Petersburg’s institutional commissary. New commissary forms had just been printed, this one with “Feburary” printed on it. I was looking to see if there was anything new available for sale. After all, some items change each quarter, when they issue the new commissary forms. Well, I wasn’t to be disappointed.
As I scrolled down the commissary list, I came across an entry called a “MP3 Envelope.” Seeing this I assumed that they were finally selling a soft, clear, rubberized carrying case for the $69 SanDisk MP3 player which they’ve been selling for some time. This clear case — with a neck strap, no less — is sold at other prisons for around $1, or even given away with the MP3 player purchases.
Later in the day, while at the commissary window retrieving my purchases, a small yellow envelope was passed through the slot. The inside of this envelope contained bubble wrap. On the outside, there was a label for the Advanced Technologies Group — the contractor who installs the software on the MP3 players sold by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. I was sadly disappointed, but didn’t hand back the envelope because I wanted to share this with my friends so that we could all remark at the principle behind selling this padded, labeled, envelope; an envelope designed for use upon product failure, an apparently expected outcome.