When you come to prison you’re not really sure what you’ll be given and what you’ll have to buy yourself. As I’ve previously mentioned, they do not provide us with much… toilet paper once a week and that’s about it, outside of state issued clothing which is cheap, stiff, itchy, cold, and fall apart fast.

If anyone’s is doing a significant amount of time, then you have no choice but to buy your own personal clothing which you can purchase through a few various DOC approved vendors. The messed up part is that these companies hike up the price sky high because they know we need these items and we will buy them regardless.

Then comes the very next problem – funds.

Some people have their families send them endless amounts of money. We can buy $100 worth of commissary from the prison store every other week. Plus, a $100 package of goods friends and family can buy for us, every 3 months.

Now, I usually only have my people send me $50 a month and do my packages…Now, I’ve been down for 13 years and $50×12=$600 a year. Plus $100×4=$400 a year for packages; that’s $1000 total a year, not including always keeping money on their phone. Add $1000×13=$13000! That’s a lot of money and I have started to take control of my finances and started hustling to give my family a break. And in prison, there’s an endless supply of hustles to chose from.

I have chose to get 2 jobs that cover the money I need monthly in my account… but $50 only goes so far when a Colgate 4oz toothpaste cost about $5. Well, I’ve always been a very good artist, but last year I took up painting and now I’m so booked with people wanted my art work I can hardly keep up. I have about a 2 month waiting period for my customers. I design T-shirts, socks, sweatshirts, cups, bowls, canvasses, books, cards – you name it, I can probably draw and paint it..or make whatever creation your mind can think up.

So that’s my hustle.

Other hustles are those that are illicit in natural and others not as much.

People join the kitchen crew because once you’re in there, you can start stealing goods from the kitchen and sell back in the unit… hot items that are not available for purchase on the commissary but sold for the kitchen are… sugar, pizza dough, yeast, onions, bell peppers, butter, raw meat of any kind, cake mix, and concentrate juice for hooch making, and pretty much any other thing they might be able to grab.

For this hustle, it helps to be a more heavy set body type because kitchen workers get patted down every time they go to leave work. The heavier women are usually the mules, because they can hide stuff in their rolls. And no, they don’t just stick the butter or whatever right in the roll open… nope ,the inmates keep an industrial roll of saran wrap in their bathroom where they wrap it up tight and tuck it away. Not a pleasant thought.

Other hustles include hair cut style and make up, all which I also do sometimes.

Then, in my opinion, some people pick up the horrible hustle of clothes washing an ironing. Which, eww, first off, I know these women and they’re gross. I don’t want to get close to their clothes let alone wash them. Plus, most of the time people doing these jobs are people who don’t get much or any help from the outside. They usually are taken advantage of, but the people who have money and are paying them less than $8 a month to hand-wash their clothes and they usually give them a ton of clothes to do at a time. Plus, the washer usually has multiple clients at a time, just to make enough to get by.

I hate it for them. Some people even offer blanket washing services, winter cost washing, and shoe cleaning. I know you may be thinking…..hmmm, doesn’t the prison offer clothes laundering services?

And the answer is Yes.

Yes, they do, but I never! Never turn anything into the facility wash. Besides, the laundry workers stealing your clothes for their bag (another hustle), when you get your stuff back its filthy. Whites turn a dingy brown and if you rewash your dark clothes by hand they just fill the sink with brown filthy water. Plus, I can’t even tell you how many women put their panties in the wash. Eww, that’s something you’re told the first day you get to prison. Never send your under clothing out to the wash. Instead we are told to wash them in the shower. So, for me, I hand wash all my own stuff.

Then there’s the illegal hustles… most popular in this prison is dealing drugs. Where it is the medication that one get at med pass and they “cheek” theirs pills and sell to an awaiting buyer. One thing prison is not lacking is drug addicts. Most people are here because of drugs and many people who’ve never tried a drug in there life start doing them in here and leave full blown addicts.

This place I’d worst then the streets. Its easier for someone to get drugs in prison. Everyone in here wants to be a dope dealer. Its everywhere. Most people wonder how do the drugs make it into the prison. For the majority of it, its the officers bringing it in. The officers here are way over worked, under paid and the money is just too good to pass up.

One drop ( name for a package being brought in) is worth upwards of 5 grand for the officer. Drug prices increase 200% or more on the inside. Something that goes for $10 on the outside goes for $100 on the inside.

The prison system is a twisted weave of business, drama, corruption, scandal, abuse, bullshit and more. I would’ve never thought that there was so much happening within. And I’ve just begun to scratch the surface.

I’ll keep an eye open to any other hustle I might be missing and add it to the list.

Until next time….Stay positive and remember no matter how shitty we may feel life it at the moment, there’s always someone struggling worse…so be grateful just for today.