The supplier of commissary items to Lawrence County jail inmates has upped the ante for a new contract.

The commissioners approved an agreement with Keefe Commissary Network of St. Louis, Mo., which renews its contract for five years.

Warden Brian Covert explained to the commissioners that with the new pact, the county will receive 23 percent of the company’s profits from the jail.

The existing contract, which expires Sept. 29, provides the county with 20 percent of the profits.

The agreement also provides that the company will supply the commissary with three computers for staff use.

Commissioner Steve Craig asked if there is any value in putting the commissary out to bid.

Covert explained most county jails in Pennsylvania use Keefe to provide commissary items.

“They know our system and they interface with our offender management system.”

Keefe sells more than 2,500 items to jail inmates, from food and snacks to soap and toothbrushes to clothing and electronics.

Each jail inmate has his or her own account, Covert said, and must have money in the account to make purchases. Friends and family can deposit money into the accounts, which are managed by jail staff.

The jail has a kiosk at the front of the building where commissary staff can order the items, or they can be ordered online, Covert said.

(Email: dwachter@ncnewsonline.com)

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