Written by: Sam Orlando
Roanoke, VA - In what might seem like a script out of a satirical sitcom, Bryan Keith Hall, an inmate at the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail, has filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia. His grievance? The jail's commissary, operated by Oasis/Commissary, is allegedly marking up prices to such an extent that a 5-inch Red Baron pizza is sold for a whopping $8.00 - a price that would make even gourmet pizzerias blush.
Hall, who is filing the lawsuit himself, lists other pricing anomalies in his complaint. A chicken sandwich or hamburger, items typically found on a fast-food dollar menu, are being sold for $9.00 each. These prices, Hall notes, are more than 500% higher than what one might expect to pay outside the jail's walls.
The lawsuit also names Smart Communications Holding INC, accusing them of imposing fees for phone calls and video visits. Hall points out the irony in being charged to maintain family connections, especially considering his indigent status.
Wexford Health Services, tasked with providing medical care at the facility, isn't spared in the lawsuit. Hall, who suffers from Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), alleges substandard care and overcharging for medical visits, adding financial insult to physical injury.
Rounding out the list of defendants is the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail Authority, accused of turning a blind eye to these "wallet-draining" practices. In a twist that might seem comical if not for its serious implications, Hall also claims the jail limits his access to books, specifically banning novels, in what could be a script out of a dystopian novel about life behind bars.
Seeking injunctive relief and monetary compensation, Hall's case highlights the often surreal realities of life in correctional facilities, where the price of a small pizza can become a legal matter. The case awaits judgment, and while the court might not deliver pizzas, it will decide if these prices are legally palatable.