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Saturday, 10 November 2012

TDCJ online commissary system by eCommDirect

TDCJ have finally rolled out their new inmate "care package" system that allows friends and family (F&F) to purchase items online from the unit commissary to be delivered to the inmate. Inmates are also allowed to purchase packs of items, such as a hygiene pack or a snack pack, through the usual commissary window. You have to give them points for trying I suppose.If you want to use the service, the URL is https://tdcj-ecommdirect.portal.texas.gov/ but it is only available between 4am and 9pm Texas time.

The charge for F&F purchases is $3.75 for each transaction. Each inmate can receive up to $50 worth of outside purchases per quarter. F&F can also deposit funds into the inmate's trust fund account, for a lower fee per transaction than Jpay charges.

Hubby and I talked about this new system at our visit last weekend. He doesn't like it that I send him money, he would rather be able to earn his own. He enjoys the books I send but has limited space so I try not to send too many. He said he has seen some of the packs and other items that other inmates have bought themselves, and he feels that they are not worth the money. In the snack pack, the only item he said was worth it were some smoked almonds, and he can always acquire those from someone else if he wants some.

So we agreed to watch and wait for now. I'm wary of giving my bank details directly to Texas.gov, and as with all new systems, there will be teething troubles until it all beds down. We may use the money transfer section in the future simply because it is cheaper, but I'm happy enough with Jpay for now.

Of course if F&F could send items through this service that are not available to inmates through commissary, then it might be more attractive. Other states manage to accommodate that. Or if F&F could purchase postage stamps of course because those are the things hubby runs out of most frequently. But TDCJ are obsessed with the idea that inmates would gamble all of their stamps away if they were allowed an unlimited number (as if they don't gamble with everything else they own, and plenty of stuff they don't own too) so I can't see that happening.

I realise that I'm a minority in all of this, but this care package system really isn't much use to us.

33 comments:

  1. I actually used the TDCJ care package system in Dec. 2012. The availability of items is NOT what they said. The "new packaged items" as quoted by Eric Johnston doesn't exist. It's just regular unit specific commissary items. And the unit commissary foks make substitutions as they wish.

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  2. The substitutions that the staff make is not anywheres near what we are ordering for our family members. If the items are not gonna be available then take them off the list its hard to order when u dont know what your gonna get.

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  3. This might not apply but I send funds thru HEB. Same amount monthly. They have a $3.00 fee for a special account that goes straight into the inmate account. Has worked well for me for many years. It is available at the service counter. He buys his own goods at the commissary.

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    1. Thank you so much for this information. This is very helpful to me, cause I didn't know about doing it through HEB. Be Blessed.

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  4. A Texas.gov employee exclaimed "but I'm not an offender!" when I wondered aloud how things would look to him if his local Kroger store advertised that it had coffee for sale but didn't keep it in stock and kept his money to boot!

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  5. can someone please tell me how to order the male hygiene package i have looked and looked and i cannot seem to find it. i found the list but haven't found out how to order it please help

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    1. Hi Anonymous 12.59

      If an item is out of stock at the unit where your loved one is, then you will not be able to order it from e-Comm until they receive more stock at that unit. You just have to keep checking the site until it appears again.

      Personally, I think the hygiene packs are very overpriced, especially as now people are purchasing them just to get the deoderant that is included.

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  6. Can someone help me..everytime I try to go on the eComm website to send something to my husband it says he can only get deposits. Why is that?

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    1. Hi Anonymous 17.12

      There could be a couple of reasons for this:

      1. He entered TDCJ after the last quarter ended, so he may not show up on the eComm system yet. You can contact them and ask for him to be added to the list of eligible inmates.

      2. He could be on lockdown or on disciplinary restrictions from commisarry.

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    2. You only have about 20 min. to complete the order before the page expires. Then you have to wait 24 hours until they up date the system before you can try again. This happened to me this pasted weekend. So I send one part of order and next day send the other.

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  7. I have looked everywhere for a price list for the Pack 1 Unit in Navasota, Texas. Can't find it,so don't know if I can get him a fan, ect. This is all new to me so it's unnerving to me. Please any suggestions or location of a current price list.

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  8. Hi Anonymous 21.04

    The commisarry list is the same for every TDCJ unit, but if you are ordering on eComm Direct you will not be able to purchase a fan for your loved one. Those have to be purchased by the inmate (the same applies to radios, postage stamps, clothing and other electrical items). I am told that the prices we would pay on eComm are the same as the inmates pay to get those items at the commisarry window.

    Those in transfer units cannot have fans.

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  9. Can u purchas items with a prepaid visa from walmart

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  10. I don't see any reason why not, Anon 20.32. It will tell you if your card is not acceptable.

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  11. trying to long in to ecommdirect it wont let me log in

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  12. I want to send commissary to my son and it tells me that he can only receive deposits only and I want to know why I can't send him commissary. Would you please help me or what I can do to send him some commissary.



















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    1. Please remember, this is a personal blog, it is not staffed by anyone associated with TDCJ or eComm Direct, so I can only help with my experiences and those of people I know so far. For up-to-date information you should always check the TDCJ website.

      As I understand it, there could be a couple of reasons why it is saying you can only deposit money for your son at this time:

      1. He could be on lockdown or on disciplinary restrictions from commisarry.

      2. He may have already reached the $50 spend limit for this quarter - have you or someone else purchased items from eComm for your son already this month?

      If the answer to both of those things is no, you will need to contact TDCJ or eComm Direct.

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  13. I purchase through EComm every quarter for my Best Friend and he gets everything on "Our" list...I found it useful to ask them what they like to eat in there.

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  14. I just send a deposit to my boyfriend thru ecommdirect i just wanna make sure he does receive it...its my first time doing this commissary i dnt really care about just the deposit...

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  15. I hope this gets to the right place. I feel that as a state what you have put in place for the inmates is wonderful. The small service fee you charge is a small token for the state considering how much it takes to house and feed inmates.
    Thank you state of Texas. I have had the experience of careing for an inmate. Regardless of how they got there, they had a jury of their piers or a Judge who has been placed in the position of judging, a position God has given them. Texas is a great state.

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  16. why am I having such a hard time sending my son money

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  17. Again, I need to remind people, I do not work for eComm or for TDCJ.

    Anon 11.33 ~ I have no idea why you are having such a hard time sending your son money. Have you tried Jpay.com? Alternatively, has your son sent you a money deposit slip? You can send those with a cheque to Huntsville and they will get the money onto your son's books.

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  18. Though I thought ordering commissary online was a good idea too I was told about the 50 dollar limit. I thought that the items for food would be something like I saw on other care package for inmates in other states.











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  19. can anyone tell me how long it has to be before an inmate can be sent commissionary items via ecomme im having a problem here thanks

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    1. eComm only update their list of inmates every quarter, so if your inmate is not showing up you will have to wait until they refresh their details. Possibly at the end of September.

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  20. thanks I have a guestion I want to send someone a care pkg but cant how long does an inmate have to be in prison before they can receive a care pkg

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    1. See my response above, or go to the eComm website and ask them https://tdcj-ecommdirect.portal.texas.gov/

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  21. I think a limit of $50 every 3 months is criminal in its self.

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  22. Can I purchase shoes or under shirts for a inmate

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  23. Please understand, I am NOT connected in any way to eComm Direct, I am not employed by them or have any influence over whether the site works, what you can purchase or anything else. This is a personal blog.

    As for purchasing shoes or undershirts, if you cannot see it available then no, they cannot be purchased.

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  24. I found out when I went to order my husbands items that the system doesn't update on Sunday and Monday. It too said only deposits so I called. I like the ecomm because he's told me not everyone gets to go to commissary where he is, but they HAVE to give him what's already ordered even if his pod didn't get to go. I laughed when he said its the closest thing to Christmas they get in there because I don't tell him when or what I'm buying, I just surprise him. Not much longer though...28 days and counting down. And unfortunately, TDC won't allow fans, shoes, electronics etc to be purchased because the inmate has to have a blue slip for those things. No blue slip, it's taken away because they're so afraid it's extortion. Hope this helps.

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  25. just want to see if someone can help me send my son some food items but I saw the list and they don't have the things he has asked for maybe one or two but other food items are not there is there a way I can get some kind of list I can look at thank you for your help

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    1. Hi there

      The list is what you see on the eComm site. They show the top 100 items that inmates are buying at commissary, and you can only choose from what you see. If what your son wants is not on the list, then you wont be able to purchase it for him.

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