Incarceration is a racket. We've heard a lot the past few years about how awful privately owned prisons are, but an underexplored issue is the profiteering of vendors of inmate services. From telecommunication companies that charge outrageous fees to let inmates speak to their families (or lawyers!), to charging inmates by the minute to read books, it's a wealth transfer from the bottom to the top. Capitalism at its finest.
It is hard to fathom how they got here but the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation is charging inmates to read!
From the Appalachian Prison Book Project:
The per-minute charge will bring in far more profit than an e-book vendor who charges a set price for downloads, as the cost to read a book far exceeds the cost to purchase one. And that cost will be especially unfair to new readers and people with dyslexia.
The paperback version of 1984 is about 330 pages. It will take a person who is able to read 30 pages per hour about 11 hours to read the novel. At the discounted $0.03/minute usage fee, 11 hours of reading a free book will cost a person about $19.80...