FCI Big Spring Inmate Money and Commissary

Sep, 19 11 Post by: admin | No Comments

Deposit Fund History

In 1930 the Department of Justice authorized and established a Commissary at each Federal institution. The Commissary was created to provide a bank type account for inmate monies and for the procurement of articles not issued regularly as part of the institution administration. The purpose of individual inmate Commissary accounts is to allow the Bureau of Prisons to maintain inmates’ monies while they are incarcerated. Family, friends, or other sources may deposit funds into these accounts.

Funds may be sent to Federal inmates via the United States Postal Service or via the Western Union Quick Collect Program. In either case, the inmate must physically be housed at a Federal Bureau of Prisons’ facility before funds can be received and posted. If the inmate is not physically in a Federal Bureau of Prisons’ facility, the funds cannot be posted and will be returned or rejected.

U.S. Postal Service

Inmates’ families and friends choosing to send inmates funds through the mail must send those funds to the following address and in accordance with the directions provided below:

Federal Bureau of Prisons
Insert Valid Committed Inmate Name
Insert Inmate Eight-Digit Register Number
Post Office Box 474701
Des Moines, Iowa 50947-0001

The deposit must be in the form of a money order made out to the inmate’s full committed name and complete eight-digit register number. Effective December 1, 2007, all non-postal money orders and non-government checks processed through the National Lockbox will be placed on a 15-day hold. The Bureau of Prisons will return to the sender funds that do not have valid inmate information provided the envelope has an adequate return address. Personal checks and cash cannot be accepted for deposit.

The sender’s name and return address must appear on the upper left-hand corner of the envelope to ensure that the funds can be returned to the sender in the event that they cannot be posted to the inmate’s account. The deposit envelope must not contain any items intended for delivery to the inmate. The Bureau of Prisons shall dispose of all items included with the funds.

In the event funds have been mailed but have not been received in the inmate’s account and adequate time has passed for mail service to Des Moines, Iowa, the sender must initiate a tracer with the entity who sold them the money order to resolve any issues.

Western Union Quick Collect Program

Inmates’ families and friends may also send inmates funds through Western Union’s Quick Collect Program. All funds sent via Western Union’s Quick Collect will be posted to the inmate’s account within two to four hours, when those funds are sent between 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. EST (seven days per week, including holidays). Funds received after 9:00 pm EST will be posted by 7:00 am EST the following morning. Funds sent to an inmate through the Quick Collect Program may be sent via one of the following ways:

1) At an agent location with cash: The inmate’s family or friends must complete a Quick Collect Form. Click here to view a sample Quick Collect Form. To find the nearest agent, they may call 1-800-325-6000 or go to www.westernunion.com.

2) By phone using a credit/debit card: The inmate’s family or friends may simply call 1-800-634-3422 and press option 2.

For each Western Union Quick Collect transaction, the following information must be provided:

    1) Valid Inmate Eight-Digit Register Number (entered with no spaces or dashes) followed immediately by Inmate’s Last Name
    2) Committed Inmate Full Name entered on Attention Line 3) Code City: FBOP, DC
    3) ONLINE using a credit/debit card: The inmate’s family and friends may go to www.westernunion.com and select “Quick Collect.”

For each Western Union Quick Collect transaction, the following information must be provided:

Please note that the inmate’s committed name and eight-digit register number must be entered correctly. If the sender does not provide the correct information, the transaction cannot be completed. The Code City is always FBOP, DC.

Each transaction is accepted or rejected at the point of sale. The sender has the sole responsibility of sending the funds to the correct inmate. If an incorrect register number and/or name are used and accepted and posted to that inmate, funds may not be returned.

Any questions or concerns regarding Western Union transfers should be directed to Western Union by the sender (general public). Questions or concerns should not be directed to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

For additional information concerning inmate Commissary account deposit procedures, please see the Bureau of Prisons Trust Fund/Warehouse/Laundry Manual (PS 4500.07) or 28 CFR Parts 506 and 540. For information concerning a specific deposit, please contact Federal Bureau of Prisons’ staff at 202-307-2712 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. ET.

Commissary Hours

Shopping will be Tuesday through Friday (excluding holidays) from 6:15 a.m. to 7:30 a.m., and from 10:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Monday sales are from 6:15 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. and from 10:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. for Special Purpose Orders (SPO’s), shoes, watches and radios.

It is your responsibility to be at work on time. Being in a Commissary line is no excuse for absence from work and the detail foreman will take appropriate action necessary if you are not at your job site on time.

General Commissary Rules

Over the counter medications will be sold to ANY inmate ANYTIME the Commissary is open.

There will be NO special shopping.

One book of stamps and/or one copy card will be sold per shopping time. The Unit Manager may authorize additional purchases based on a demonstrated need.

The spending limit per month is $320.00. This limit does not include telephone credits, nicotine replacement therapy patches, over-the-counter medications as defined in section 3.3.f(14) of the Program Statement, Kosher/Halal shelf-stable entrees for inmates who are on FRP refuse status, copy cards, copy paper and stamps. Validation is done by the 5th digit of the inmate register number. (See Telephone for your specific validation scheduled date). FRP Refuse inmates have a spending limit of $25.00 per month. Shopping days rotate quarterly and are posted on the Commissary bulletin boards. The fourth and fifth digits of your register number determine your shopping day.

To successfully shop at the Commissary, the inmate must check orders for completeness and accuracy before leaving the Trust Fund Sales Window.
Beard Trimmers are a prohibited item and will not be sold through the Trust Fund Sales Unit.

All canned foods are prohibited and will not be sold in the Commissary.


Special Purchase Orders

All Special Purchase Orders (SPO’s) must first be requested and approved through Recreation, the Health Services Unit, or Religious Services, depending on the item being requested. Approved orders are submitted to the Business Office for the purpose of confirming the price on item(s) requested, verifying that funds are available and freezing your account for the amount of the item(s) requested. If funds are available, the order will then be placed. This can take approximately 2-3 weeks, depending on the item(s) ordered. The Commissary will notify you when the order has been received. (The “freeze” will not be released from your account until you receive delivery of the ordered item).

In order to purchase a watch or radio, you must submit an Inmate Request to Staff Member (cop-out) to the Unit Team, indicating the item you want to purchase. The Unit Team will check the inmate’s BF-383 (58) to ascertain whether or not he already possesses the number of items authorized by the Institution Supplement on Inmate Personal Property. The Unit Team will then respond to the cop-out and route a copy to the inmate.

In order to purchase tennis shoes, inmates must submit an Inmate Request to Staff Member (cop-out) to the Unit Counselor. The Unit Counselor will respond to the cop-out and route a copy to the inmate. If an approval is granted, the inmate may take the cop-out to Recreation and make his purchase through Special Purpose Orders. Approved special Commissary purchase forms will be held for 30 days. If the item is not purchased within the 30 days, the form will be discarded.


Stamps are sold in the Commissary. You are allowed to purchase the equivalent of one book of stamps per shopping visit. You are allowed to have no more than the dollar equivalent of three books of stamps in your possession at any given time.

Vending Cards

Vending Cards are sold in the Commissary for use in the inmate copying machines. The cards are $7.00 each and are good for 50 copies. You are allowed to buy one copy card per shopping visit. The institution is NOT responsible or liable for losses caused by malfunctions. Vending cards are non-refundable if you transfer or release from the institution.

Photo Program

Photo tickets are sold in the Commissary with a maximum purchase of $15.00 in tickets. You are allowed to have no more than $20.00 worth of tickets in your possession at any one time. Excess tickets will be confiscated. Photo tickets belonging to other inmates or from other institutions will not be accepted. Inmates must provide their photo tickets prior to the pictures being taken. Visiting photographs will be taken in the visiting room during approved visiting days. Photographs will ONLY be taken in front of the provided backdrops. Compound photos will be taken on posted days and times and will be taken on the South side of the Chapel/Recreation building. Any photos being taken in any other area must have prior written approval by the Recreation Supervisor. In the event of bad weather and with staff approval , photos may be taken in an alternative location. Accommodations can be made for those inmates with documented medical problems. All inmates must present their ID to take and pick up photos. Inmates are not authorized to pick up or receive photos for other inmates.

Pictures will be reviewed by staff prior to the inmates receiving them. Any unauthorized pictures will be labeled as contraband and confiscated. Inmates will not be refunded for contraband pictures. Examples of unauthorized pictures from inmates or visitors include:

  • any pictures showing or giving the appearance of showing signals or signs, i.e. gang signs.
  • both feet must be firmly on the ground, no legs raised up in the air.
  • pictures with inappropriate contact or sexual overtones pictures where the inmate is inappropriately dressed, i.e. wearing altered clothing.
  • the wearing of headgear, other than approved caps or religious head wear
  • group pictures taken without an approved “Inmate Request to Staff Member”, BP-148 form.
  • pictures taken in an area that is not approved.
  • any pictures reviewed by the SIS Department without an accompanying BP-148.

Retakes will be approved by the Education Supervisor. The picture being retaken will be used for the photo ticket. An “Inmate Request to Staff Member” form BP-148, must be submitted to the photographers, with any group pictures listing all inmates included in the picture.

Inmate Account Cards

It is the inmate’s responsibility to properly care for and safeguard his inmate account card. This identification card is used during sales in the Trust Fund Sales Unit to provide positive visual identification. Sales transactions will not be conducted without the account card. Inmates are required to retain the Inmate Account Card in their possession at all times.

  1. The inmate account card may never be in the possession of another inmate. Violations of this nature will result in disciplinary action taken against both inmates.
  2. An attempt to utilize another inmate’s account card to conduct financial transactions constitutes fraud. Appropriate disciplinary measures shall be taken.
  3. An inmate may have only one account card in his possession.
  4. Account cards belonging to an inmate placed in the Special Housing Unit will be maintained by the Special Housing Unit Staff until the inmate is released.
  5. Inmates will be responsible for the replacement cost ($5.00) of account cards due to damage, or change in appearance.
  6. Inmates will be denied access to their Trust Fund Account if their appearance has changed in such a manner as to prevent positive identification of the inmate, if the account card has been altered, or if their account card has been lost.
  7. Inmates must request new account cards through ITS via a “cop-out” or through their Counselors.

Commissary Fund Withdrawals

A standard form is provided by the institution for the withdrawal of inmate funds from Commissary accounts. Unit Managers and Supervisors of Education can approve withdrawals up to $500 from the Trust Fund Account. Only the Associate Warden can approve withdrawal requests over $500.00. Withdrawals for education and leisure time items are approved by the Supervisor of Education.

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