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“A 2020 report by Impact Justice, which surveyed 250 formerly incarcerated individuals and 230 friends and families of incarcerated individuals, underscored the extent of the problem. Three in five formerly incarcerated people reported they could not afford commissary purchases and many people are ‘forced to choose between buying food and purchasing necessities such as toothpaste or making costly phone calls to loved ones.’ Furthermore, 75% reported that they were served rotten or spoiled food while they were incarcerated.

‘We heard stories of people so desperate for palatable food that they would trade sex for commissary items, form romantic relationships with others who could afford to shop at the commissary, or get involved in gang activity when commissary items were a reward,’ the 2020 report states ‘As one formerly incarcerated person said, ‘If you didn’t cook…you starved.””

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