Markets in everything: prison contraband and the housing collapse.

Going around the internets: a story of someone’s experience in prison (i.e., complete personal collapse and bad mojo in less than two years — admittedly, he was an armed robber, so doubt he was terrible functional to start). But there’s some fascinating econ in this, and I simply must catch the jump on Marginal Revolution:

I joked to my cell mate on the first day that at least the GFC couldn’t fuck us inside. He’d been done for assaulting a cop when his house got taken by the bank. But within months ‘GFC N[***]‘ became the standard reply to any query as to how black market prices were suddenly going through the roof. The price of a deck of smokes tripled. There was an actual economic reason about this. I went away in Michigan, where a lot of people lost their houses, mostly poor people already. When they had to move away from the prison, it meant they couldn’t bring their loved ones as much contraband group, which meant the price of what there was sky rocketed. And the worse things got, the more the people who worked in the store would wonk and take home with them, which meant stocks ran low which fucked us even further.

Parts of it give me ideas for arbitrage opportunities for some enterprising drug dealer:

You get a tiny allowance, but you spend most of it on food. The best and most effective way to score is to have someone on the outside pay your man’s person on the outside. My preferred method was to get a bank account and deposit on using phone banking. At my worst, I was using a monthly phone call to transfer cash to my dealer’s mom instead of calling my own mom. He was actually a cool guy, apart from being an AIDs infected drug dealer inside for a double rape.

If you don’t have a set up like that, you can trade for candy. Weird, but that’s how shit works inside. A big bag of Reece’s Pieces would get you an eight ball. No shit.

hmm… how hard is it to smuggle drugs out of prison? Buy some Reese’s at CVS… according to totally unreliable internet sources, an 8-ball costs a few hundred bucks, even accounting for things like bribes and discounts for low-quality prison drugs, that’s probably still like a 5000% margin…


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