Prisoners: Bank Services

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 23rd October 2020.

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Photo of Lyn Brown Lyn Brown Shadow Minister (Justice)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will make an assessment of the effect on the work of charities who use the gov.uk portal to support prisoners with money for phone credit and other costs, and whose charitable bank accounts do not allow debit cards to be issued, of the planned exclusion of bank transfers, cheques, postal orders and cash from that portal from 2 November 2020.

Photo of Lucy Frazer Lucy Frazer The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

From 2 November 2020, some arrangements for prisoner monies will change to improve the security of related processes and controls. Changes include a presumption that external payments to prisoners should be made online, a cap on prisoner funds in prison accounts and a weekly limit on the amount of funds a prisoner can disburse out of their accounts. The move towards online methods are in line with the increase in the use of electronic means of payment generally in the wider community.

Charities play a vital role in supporting people in the criminal justice system. We understand the importance of keeping in touch with families and friends. Because of this the changes allow for money senders who do not have access to debit cards to make alternative arrangements to pay by cheque.

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