The Inmate Banking Concept
The Inmate Banking system is an integrated system for inmate trust fund accounts, canteen sales, probation/parole/GPS/EMP fees and restitution. The system was implemented for females in February 2009 and males in May 2009. The system holds all of the records back to inception. This is beyond the seven years required by the state.
Each inmate that has been assigned an ODOC number in our current Inmate Management System has an account in the Inmate Banking System. The inmate only has one account, which is tied to their ODOC number. There is only one actual bank account, which the Oklahoma Treasury oversees. Since the system is integrated, the inmate keeps the one account all through their incarceration. If the inmate comes back in ODOC custody, the inmate will have the same account. Just like you do not have to transfer money from one ATM to another, the inmate’s account works the same way as long as the inmate is in a state-run facility. Moving from one facility to the next is just like using a different ATM; all of the information and funds are there because you still use the same account.
Each inmate account is divided into three (3) parts.
- The available balance is the portion that most inmates track. This is the amount that the inmate may spend.
- Mandatory (Statutory) Savings: 20% of all of the inmate’s earned funds are put into this account per Oklahoma Statute 57 § 549.A.5. The funds may only be spent on court fees and costs while incarcerated. Once the inmate discharges, these funds are given to the inmate to start their new life. Although there are cases in which this can be a fairly large sum, in most cases it is well under $500.
- Interest Bearing Savings Account (IBSA): An inmate may transfer any amount of funds to this account when their available balance is over $100. As an example, if an inmate had $105 in their available balance, they may transfer $5 to the IBSA. This account does accrue interest. Inmates may transfer funds to this account at any time, but may only transfer funds from the account once every 90 days. The intention is to encourage savings and responsible spending habits. By putting funds into this account, it also protects the inmate from other inmates discovering how much money the inmate has.
Inmate accounts are limited to holding $99,999,999.99. The intention is, that if an inmate has limited options on the outside to safely hold funds while incarcerated, they can place the funds in their inmate account where it is protected. Additionally, inmates may not have direct access to funds held outside of their trust fund.
The trust fund accepts funds from two vendors for inmates. Family and friends may send funds to an inmate by using Jpay or Access Corrections.
Inmates also earn funds by meeting certain behavioral and work requirements. Many inmates get jobs through Oklahoma Correctional Industries (which manufactures various items), through Agri-Services (which produces food), or through many other opportunities.
Private prisons and county jails hold the spendable funds for inmates in their custody. If funds are sent to ODOC for an inmate in a private prison or county jail, the funds are sent once a week to that inmate. It is much quicker to send the funds to an inmate not housed in an ODOC prison using the method that facility requests. Different vendors may or may not be used to send these inmates funds while they are a private prison or county jail.
Once an inmate is discharged, all of the funds that they have at that time are given to them. Funds that are left with ODOC for one year after the inmate discharges are sent to the State Treasury’s Unclaimed Property Division. This is a fairly unusual situation, but sometimes ODOC receives funds for the inmate after the inmate has discharged. ODOC will make one attempt to send the funds, however, if the inmate has moved from their original discharge address, then the funds are sent to the State Treasury. This makes it easy for the inmate to claim their funds.
The canteen operations for the ODOC are managed using the inmate banking system. Since it is integrated with the trust fund, if the funds are in the inmate’s account, they can spend the funds, within limits, at the canteens. Inmates normally have a spending limit at the canteen of $80 or less per week depending on their security level. The canteen system, along with our contract(s) with canteen suppliers, ensures that the best-selling items are available at the canteen.
All items are priced the same on the same day throughout all ODOC-run prisons. Every canteen buys items to sell from the same list. Not every item is available at every prison because of security levels. Even though the list of items is large and varied, there are some items that just do not sell well at a particular prison. If the inmates at that prison do not want an item, it is not carried there. Items that do not sell well overall are replaced by new items.
Restitution accounting is the process of collecting probation and parole supervision fees and victims’ restitution payments based on statutory requirements and distributing those collections to the appropriate entities. Probation and parole officers and managers can log into the system from anywhere in the state and lookup a client’s obligations. The system ensures payments are processed according to pre-defined business rules. Each time a client makes a restitution payment, OBS automatically sets up a payment to go out to the victim or victims based on the court orders and system disbursement rules. Probation and parole officers provide their clients with pre-addressed envelopes to mail their payments. These envelopes also provide a website address and phone number through which clients can make credit/debit card payments.