The State paid prisoners over €3m in pocket money last year.
According to Freedom of Information figures, released to Newstalk, they also got nearly €5m in gifts from family and friends.
At the moment, there are just under 4,000 prisoners in 13 jails across the State.
Every inmate receives a daily allowance from the Irish Prison Service, which they can spend in the tuck shop.
The standard rate is €1.70 a day, but this rises to €2.20 for well-behaved prisoners and is cuts to 95c for bad behaviour.
Inmates can get additional payments of up to €3.50 a week for working in areas like kitchens or laundries, or for painting.
Last year prisoners got a total of nearly €3.1m under these schemes.
Retired prison officer John Cuffe says the amounts are not too high.
"They are appropriate in my opinion - it's a token.
"Quite a lot of prisoners have actually no resources or money - so that few bob works out at about €10 a week.
"[It] allows them to buy a few luxuries - a few extras - to shorten the time, make the time a little bit better for themselves.
"It's not a lot, a child on pocket money would be getting far more than that - it's not going to make them or break them".
Last year prisoners got a further €4.9m in gifts from family and friends.
Just under €1m of that was given to inmates in the country's biggest jail: Midlands Prison in Portlaoise.