SALEM, Ore. — A Salem businessman has given $10,000 so each inmate in the Oregon State Penitentiary has $4.11 for Christmas.
The $4.11 is their share of a gift from a man who is adamant about remaining anonymous and about how the money was to be distributed, said Chane Griggs of the Oregon Department of Corrections.
Corrections officials initially talked to him about using the money to remodel the visiting area in the Salem prison, she said, but he said not all inmates get visitors.
"He was specific that he wanted it to be to each inmate," she said. The man doesn't have any connection to the prison system or to anyone serving time, Griggs said.
She said the money was distributed to prisoners as of Dec. 14, and any remainder went into the inmate-welfare fund. She didn't have the inmate census at hand, but at $4.11 a pop, $10,000 could be split 2,433 ways, with 37 cents left over.
The money goes into the inmates' personal spending accounts, redeemable only at the prison canteen, she said.
The Oregonian newspaper quoted these prices of items the inmates might buy with their shares: wool gloves, $3; instant rice, $1.10; Wheat Thins, $1.50; a mug, $2.56; a crucifix with a chain, $4; garlic capsules, $3.60.