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Texas inmates pool $53,000 for Hurricane Harvey victims

Thousands of inmates in Texas have been visiting their prison’s commissary — not for a can of Sprite or a roll of tissue paper, but to donate money to Hurricane Harvey victims.

In one month, 6,663 inmates raised more than $53,000, Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jason Clark told CNN.

At prison commissaries, inmates use funds from electronic accounts to buy food, personal hygiene products and miscellaneous items such as paper and pens. Family and friends can put money into these accounts online or purchase goods for inmates.

Throughout September, the department posted fliers outside commissaries in some of its 104 facilities. Prisoners could choose to donate a dollar or more.

And donate they did. The average amount given was $8, Clark said. The largest contribution was about $300.

At the end of September, the department mailed one large check for $53,863 to the American Red Cross.

The generous gesture isn’t new to inmates in Texas. After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, they donated more than $40,000, according to the department’s Facebook page.