Prison currency shifting from cigarettes to ramen noodles

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Prison Currency Shifting From Cigarettes To Ramen Noodles

State prisoners are preferring a different form of currency for buying goods and services within the prison system, finds new research.

According to the study from the University of Arizona School of Sociology, ramen noodles have surpassed cigarettes as the payment method of choice.

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Doctoral candidate Michael Gibson-Light identified this trend when he interviewed nearly 60 inmates as well as staff at an unnamed U.S. state prison between May 2015 and May 2016.

During this time, he observed ramen being traded for other items like candy and toiletries, services like cleaning, and even as bets during gambling, notes The Independent.

He has linked this change to prison cutbacks which he says have caused a drop in the amount and quality of food that is provided.

According to Gibson-Light, "Prisoners are so unhappy with the quality and quantity of prison food that they receive that they have begun relying on ramen noodles — a cheap, durable food product — as a form of money in the underground economy."

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