Commissary is the money in an inmate’s jail account. He uses it to pay for snacks, personal hygiene items, phone calls and in some cases medical visits and medications. Whether or not an inmate’s commissary money follows him to the new facility depends on several things including:
Temporary moves: If the inmate is transported to another county for a few days to deal with a case in that other jurisdiction but will return to complete his current sentence, the commissary will most likely not be moved. If he is coming back soon, it will be as if he just chose not to order any snacks that week, and when he gets back he will still have the commissary to spend. If however, he will be gone several weeks or longer, the jail might send it along with him.
Jail rules: The jail decides what to do with commissary when the inmate leaves. If he is released, they typically mail it to an outside address provided by the inmate. If he moves to another jail, some facilities, rather than deal with tracking and sending it to the new jail, will send a check for his commissary balance to his address on file.
What he owes: Sometimes when an inmate moves to another jail, he still owes money in the first jail for medical visits, medications or other debts. The charges that he owes will be deducted and if there is any money left it will be forwarded to his new facility.
Final thoughts: Commissary funds can get tied up for several weeks in-transit if they follow the inmate from one facility to another. This means he can go quite a while without access to snacks, clothing and other items when he arrives at the new place. If it’s possible, the best way to avoid interruptions is to put commissary money on his books in the new facility as soon as he arrives so he can stock up on what he needs there. When the money finally catches up from the former facility, it will be a nice bonus for him in a stressful situation.
Sometimes the process goes wrong.