The Nanfang / Blog


Foshan Prison brings inmates online shopping services

Posted: 03/7/2012 2:31 pm

Of all the things you shouldn’t be allowed to do in prison, shopping online is no longer one of them for inmates in Foshan Prison, as a new capital management banking system was launched there late last month, designed to cater to prisoners’ personal financial needs. Yes, it is the first of its kind in China.

A spokesperson for Foshan Prison, speaking to Southern Metropolis Daily, says that each inmate will be given a personal account under the new system, which can be used to check balances, make purchases or transfer payments within the prison’s own LAN.

Remuneration for labor performed in the prison will be added to the new accounts, as will deposits made by inmates’ families and friends.

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Up until now, all accounting needs for inmates has been managed centrally by Foshan Prison’s accounting department, making the simplest of purchases, such as for daily necessities, an unnecessarily complicated procedure. The new system, which incorporates biometric technology, now makes making a purchase as simple as pressing a finger to a locally installed terminal for instant identification. For added transparency, transaction records or balance statements will also be available at each point of purchase.

The key selling point, of course, is the system’s online shopping function. While inmates previously had to fill in a shopping list two weeks ahead of time and with no way of knowing what items were available, now they can browse prices, photos and other product information just seconds before they make their purchase.

The prison says that deliveries will typically be made within three days.

One Taobao blow-up doll to go? Not likely—inmates for the moment only have a choice between toothpaste, a toothbrush, slippers or instant noodles. Smuggle in a silk nightgown, though, and they could have themselves a party.

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