Why Is Peanut Butter So Expensive in Prison?

A jar of peanut butter, for example, now costs between 25% and 35% more across the state prisons. In the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, the price of peanut butter increased 61 cents, even though the portion size decreased by 2 ounces. Soap is more expensive, too. Incarcerated people could be paying between 4% and 80% more per bar, depending on where they’re imprisoned. In Illinois state prisons, the cost of a pack of instant ramen now costs 32 cents — a 68% increase from the year before.

Prices have soared across entire prison systems, too. In Pennsylvania, commissary prices increased by nearly 27%, according to an analysis by the Pennsylvania Prison Society, an advocacy organization supporting people incarcerated in the state.