Why ramen is so valuable in prison

Instant ramen: it’s warm, flavorful, quick,
cheap and filling. It’s the chosen favorite among college kids
and inmates across America. Check usage reports from the Massachusetts Department of Corrections for example, and you’ll see that ramen was the number one sold item at prison commissaries. Ramen has become like cash among American
prisoners. Because behind bars, it can buy you anything. Anything that’s got any value. From clothes, drugs, a favor. Hey, I like the way your penmanship is, can
you write this letter for me, can you draw this for me, anything. It’s literally gold. After 13 years in and out of prison, he literally
wrote the book on Prison Ramen. Ramen is the best and easiest currency because everybody uses it. That’s everybody’s staple to cook. Because prisoners can’t possess cash, they
use objects to trade for other goods and services… And anything that replaces cash has to be durable, portable, divisible into standardized units and highly valued. Ramen fits the bill, because unlike other
traded objects like stamps- which are expensive, and tobacco- which is banned in most prisons,
ramen is cheap and easy to get a hold of. In the commissary, a single pack of ramen
runs about $.59 on average. But, once it’s out of the official commissary,
ramen’s value is determined by an informal prison economy. They barter with it, they become jailhouse
stores so to speak, like guys would purchase all the ramen, kind of like that scene in
Orange Is The New Black. She took over the market Jesus, who bought all the ramens? Guys fill up their shelves with this and they
have their own store. And they put their price on it. Your ramen could sell for two to three dollars believe it or not. A 2016 study found that while a sweatshirt
cost $10.81 at the commissary at Sunbelt State Penitentiary, an inmate could sell that sweatshirt
for 2 packs of ramen, increasing the value of ramen by 916 percent. In fact, food items are the overwhelming majority
of what people buy. An analysis of annual commissary sales in
three states shows that 75% of spending was entirely on food and beverages. Inmates aren’t just using ramen as cash;
they are also eating it. Creative cooking in prison is a necessity. When asked if prison meals were enough to
live off of, Alvarez said. I lost like ten pounds you know because they
give you a meal that’s maybe for a five-year-old, a 10 year old. But it wasn’t up to par. It wasn’t your four food groups, it was none
of that. So ramen can supplement when the food provided
isn’t enough. With 2.3 million people in US prisons, and
pressure to cut costs, food is one area where federal and state governments are trying to
save money. Some inmates are now being fed for as little
as $1.77 a meal. In one instance, the Marshall Project reported
one prison that had whittled down costs to as low as $.56 a meal. But keeping food costs low doesn’t come without
consequences. Aramark, a private food vendor to over 600
correctional facilities, has been cited for giving inmates tainted food and serving fewer
and smaller meals. New information tonight about ongoing problems
with maggots found in Ohio prison kitchens. Issues like this with Aramark and other private
food vendors have prompted civil lawsuits and protests in response to the state of food. Turns out food isn’t just about nutrition;
it’s also about security. Despite everything ramen has become away
inmates keep a sense of control while in the system. We would actually make a humongous spread. These soups would be the equalizer for all
of us to sit down and have a meal and not stress what’s happening in the prison yard. Trade and bartering in prison isn’t new,
but until there are systemic changes in its food system, ramen will likely stay at the
top of the prison trade economy. Simply because food is a basic need. And ramen is a basic solution.


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  • Migoreen way better

  • Eating ramen is like eating it for the first time

  • Tay K has entered the chat:

  • Never had Ramen

  • When a prison economy is better then a ours

  • Ramen’s always valuable.

  • 💜💙

  • Creeper,

    Ra men

  • Brooklyn Nine Nine

  • Diet tips.
    Step1: rob bank
    Step2: get arrested
    Step3: go to prison and lose weight

  • Well you don’t go to jail to have 5 star food

  • Interesting

  • It's also extremely valuable outside of prison lol

  • Would be nice to hear some prison ramen recipes. The guy said it's the main ingredient in what prisoners make.

  • Does anyone know any of the background songs being played?

  • “It’s literally gold”

    B R U H 🤣

  • It’s not so much the ramen than the flavor packets in the ramen 🍜

  • My meal at school is 20 cents a meal fight me

  • Wow I wonder how much Shin ramen is worth there

  • I want to to find that guys book on prison/ramen, why is it not in the dubly-doo? Pretty lame.

  • Song in background?

  • Ramen spreads in prison. So let’s make a spread cheers!

  • * Naruto has entered the chat *

  • Im gonna hit the woah
    Watch this

  • This is what TayK meant when he said “we gonna be eating good noodles everyday”

  • They don't know about Indome noodles

  • if you can't get the ramen, don't do the crime.

  • You forgot us Gs too I love that shiy

  • MSG

  • 1:27 they pulled one quickly 🙁

  • Aramark feeding prisons, colleges and elementary schools all around the US🙄

  • So you say I can buy 100$ of Ramen and profit about 91500$ selling ramen in Prison?

  • Everyone loves ramen

    believe it

  • Now I want to eat ramen.

  • And yet our kids are getting fed meals worth less that inmates

  • You’re in jail..
    to escape you have a hole right..covered in posters..

    Buy 40 Ramen and fix the wall when you get inside the hole and done

  • It’s literally gold? It’s NOT LITERALLY GOLD!!!

  • 6.55 subs??

  • Prison and college? Same thing

  • It is kind the prisoners folt because the in jail

  • Because it’s cheap, delicious, easy, and comes in a variety

  • I’m getting b99 vibes from this…

  • Whenever i go to school a person has raw ramen with flavors

  • Makes sense now why they sell it at school

  • Crumbling the noodle on top gives it an extra little crispity SNAP!

  • College n prison run neck and shoulder lol


  • they shouldn't even get the 3 free meals. make them work to earn credits to buy things like ramen. you dont work you dont eat. no free lunches here

  • Video sponsored by Top Ramen ©

  • I found about use of ramen in prison in Brooklyn nine nine

  • Bro this world is a prison just replace ramen with money. There ya go.

  • Pen-a-ten-chee-air-ee?

  • Hold up. If prisoners aren't allowed to possess cash, how do they buy ramen from the commissary in the first place?

  • Honestly never knew about this till I watched Brooklyn Nine-Nine

  • Who else looked down at their bowl of ramen while watching this and thought about quoting your job

  • Why was this in my recommended?

  • Ramen. Is valuable but for swole that helps with working out it’s a main source of carbs

  • I wanna read this book now

  • Me currently making a pck of ramen right now

  • At this point the prisons should just give them ramens for meals. No problem keeping cost below a dollar for a meal 🤷‍♂️

  • So we put people in prison and hope that they will change. But really you starve them and send out when they are done serving there time. Jail and prison is a joke.

  • Why don’t the jails just serve ramen it’s literally like 23/32cents at the store individually (depending which type you buy) it’s rly cheap and filling like the video said and taste better than most jail food I bet

  • I’m eating ramen right now

  • Just memories , we a cooking ramen with hotwater and eat with tortilla and chips , before we play chess until morning , at alameda county jail ca , hehehe

  • Am I the only person who thinks of B99 when they say this video lol 😂


  • This is all false. I’ve been in jail and Ramen only holds the value of what it’s worth. You can buy it once a week. It cost $1 for us.

  • arrest is a crime

  • I noticed it's only the American brands though. What if someone brings in the better Asian brands like nong shim or mama. Are those worth more?

  • And I thought Brooklyn Nine-Nine was joking

  • Gets out of prison with ramen.

  • Well that's one thing students and inmates have in common.

  • In U.S. prisons you get less to eat than a toddler. Inmates are starving most of the time. And this is the cause of most of the problems. Individuals who have never been to a U.S. prison have NO CONCEPTION OF WHAT IT IS LIKE TO BE HUNGRY ALL THE TIME.

  • Every single time i have been released from jail the first thing i do is shower and head out for a gigantic burger with a Dr. Pepper, best thing ever

  • Tonight on How to eat money

  • Gotta got them gains somehow

  • Pychewards do the same I was in for a month These are the same meals we ate I lost 15 lbs

  • Ramen can be a brick to

  • 1:08 “Because prisoners can’t possess cash,”

    Me: They can but ok..

  • I call it noodles and it will always be noodles, ramen sounds so wrong …VERY wrong like youtube thinks it is not even a word…

  • My dad used to give other inmates to ask for favors (chores ect)

    They would even gamble with it.

    (Side note: Aramark also feeds HerbaLife staff)

  • Its not popular in prisons however asian is.

  • I have a whole entire box of ramen noodles 👁👄👁

  • What's the inflation rate on the Ramen currency? Is there a Ramen credit card?

  • Raman is only editable to me with some korean fire noodle sauce and some meat mixed in. I never tried their chip style tho

  • 3:35 correctional facility. Now it even starts to sound like a dystopia.

  • How much is a safety pin worth

  • I love ramen

  • Tay k eat good noddles everyday

  • Now I want to go prison

  • Ight, imma head out

  • Jail: We've got some of the worst food ever
    School: Hold my lunch

  • Asian pride in US prisons

  • It costs $80,000 to $130,000 to house an inmate in the U.S. WHERE IS ALL THE MONEY GOING?

  • Rat lol

  • Main ingredient for a jailhouse burrito.

  • Ramen in jail was bomb,mix it with hot cheetos and you got yourself a meal

  • its just flour with flavor

  • 2.28 when accommodation is paid for and entertainment is limited why not eat like a king

  • soil boil

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