New system will make deposits to inmate trust accounts easier

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By Kevin H. Kempf, Director, Idaho Department of Correction

I know it’s a hassle for the families and friends of inmates to deposit money in their loved one’s trust account.  

You have to go to a bank and get a cashier’s check, or go to a post office or store and get a money order. Then, you have to get a stamp, get an envelope, get the address of the correctional facility where the inmate is incarcerated and (finally) get the cashier’s check or money order in the mail. 

What a pain!

Evidence-based research shows that inmates who maintain relationships with their family and friends are more likely to succeed when they’re released from prison. And at the Idaho Department of Correction, we’re all about helping inmates succeed.  That’s our mission – to make Idaho safer by reducing recidivism. So for the past 18 months or so, we’ve been searching for new ways to help people support their incarcerated loved ones. 

Now I’m pleased to announce we’re close to fixing another one of the barriers – IDOC’s inmate account-management system. A new system is about to come online, and it’s going to make the process of putting money into an inmate’s trust account easier and faster.

 

New ways to make deposits

Starting July 1, you’ll be able to make electronic transfers to inmate trust accounts by:

There is a fee for using these new options. The rate depends on how much money you’re transferring.

We’ve posted the fee schedule on IDOC’s website. You can see it here.

 

More on walk-in deposits

To find a location of a walk-in site near you, visit one of the websites or call one of the phone numbers listed below.  

But please note, the locations of walk-in sites in Idaho will not be available until the service begins on July 1.  

• CashPayToday — achpsac.com or 1-844-340-2274

• ACE Cash Express — acecashexpress.com  or 1-877-223-2274 

• Dollar General — dollargeneral.com

 

Make a deposit for free

You can still send your deposit by mail without paying a fee. There is, however, a new address.

Starting July 1, instead of sending your check or money order to the institution in which the inmate is incarcerated, send it here:

Secure Deposits-Idaho DOC

PO Box 12486

St. Louis, MO 63132

Be sure to include the inmate's name and IDOC number.  Do not send cash. 

 

Better for offenders, too

The new account-management system will make it a lot easier for inmates to keep track of how much money they have in their trust accounts. They can check their balance by accessing one of the electronic kiosks in IDOC’s correctional facilities. 

This new system also provides for near real-time transactions. For example, commissary purchases will be deducted as soon as the commissary provider, Keefe, processes the order.  

So will the cost of phone calls. Inmates will no longer have to go to the trouble of purchasing phone time through commissary. The new inmate account-management system is connected to the phone system. That means when an inmate makes a call its cost will be deducted almost immediately from the inmate’s trust account.

The new system will also make it easier for inmates to make the transition from prison back to the community. Instead of giving inmates a check for the funds that remain in their trust account, they will receive a debit card instead.  

There are certain fees associated with using the debit card, but they aren’t much.  

There are also no-fee services available under the card including point-of-sale purchases and card-to-bank transfers. 

The card will allow newly released offenders immediately to withdraw cash from most ATMs (fees apply).

For more on the debit release-card program, click here. 

 

No taxpayer dollars spent

It’s worth noting that the improvements that we’ve made with this new system are funded entirely through user fees. No taxpayer dollars were spent on this upgrade.  

It’s also worth noting that inmates and their families still have no-cost options. As noted above, you can still make a deposit by mailing in a check or money order. And the debit-release cards have no-fee options to use or cash out the card. 

Story published: 06/29/2016
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