Inmates in prison are not permitted to have money in their possession. To maintain their ability to make purchases, their money is held in an inmate account, which is then opened for them upon entry into the institution. Their main source of income while incarcerated generally stems from family gifts, or from inmate jobs. Inmates tend to use the money to buy commissary or pay bills.
Please note, inmates incur certain costs, which are deducted from their accounts. These deductions include medical copayments for health-care requests, doctor or dental visits, prescriptions, glasses, dentures, fines, and child support. A percentage of funds coming into an inmate's books from the outside may be used to fulfill any of these deductions. Child support is one exception - this is deducted from any wages earned while working inside the institution. The funds that remain are available for an inmate to spend.
Inmates generally do not need any outside funds during their incarceration. However, if you would like to apply funds to an offender's account for any reason, you can do so through a contracted service accessible via www.accesscorrections.com You can also call 1-866-345-1884. You will need the offender's name and a valid credit card.
What may an inmate purchase?
Inmates are allowed to purchase commissary items once each week. The commissary offers a variety of items (food, hygiene, clothing, stamped envelopes, paper, etc.). The amount of commissary an inmate is allowed to purchase, as well as the type of items they are allowed to purchase, is dictated by their housing status (e.g. which unit they are housed in, and the individual's privilege level).
Will the inmate receive all the money I put on his/her books?
Often the answer is no. Inmate accounts are subject to certain deductions. If offenders do not have sufficient funds in their accounts when submitting a medical request, receiving a doctor/PN/dental visit, receiving a prescription, or if inmates have outstanding institutional fines or restitution, 60 percent of incoming funds are subject to deduction to compensate for those fees.
What about medical expenses?
Medical co-pays are posted to inmate accounts on a weekly basis. If there are sufficient funds in the account to cover co-pay costs, those funds will be deducted. If there are insufficient funds to cover the co-pay, a deduction will automatically be placed on the offender's account, which will take 60 percent of incoming funds. Inmates are not denied medical services due to an inability to pay.
Will you tell me if/when my money is received?
There is only certain account information made public by inmate accounting. Staff can tell you if a money order/cashier's check has been received and placed on the account - as long as you know the sender's name and amount of the money order/cashier's check. Staff will not provide information regarding an offender's account balance, how much an offender owes on deductions, who else might be placing funds on the offender's books, or if the offender is sending out any funds elsewhere.
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