A computer error at three of Florida's hard-line prisons put hundreds of thousands of dollars into the canteen accounts of 186 inmates.
While the mistake went undetected for at least 10 months, the convicts ordered cigarettes, sweets, cheeseburgers, tennis shoes, radios, biscuits, chewing tobacco and even televisions.
Red-faced computer experts at the Florida Department of Correction blamed the mistake on problems with its mainframe and local systems.
In January 2000 the inmate banking system credited each prisoner with between $100 and $200 a month, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
Prisoners housed at the State Prison at Starke, the Union Correctional Institution at Raiford and the Martin Correctional Institution at Indiantown were spending cash on photo albums, greetings cards, dictionaries, chilli dogs, ice cream and extra chicken soup for more than 10 months.
Unfortunately it all came to an end when 41 inmates complained that money from their families was disappearing from their accounts.
When the Department of Correction investigated, it discovered that the inmate banking system was robbing from some and giving to others.
In August, the state began returning money to the 'innocent' prisoners and began taking money from the 186 inmates involved in the scam.
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