The concept of an Inmate Trust Fund can be a mystery to many people, as it involves managing the financial resources of prisoners people. However, understanding this system is essential for inmates and their loved ones, as it can impact their ability to access funds for essential needs while in prison and during their transition back to society.
In this blog, we will explore the ins and outs of the Inmate Trust Fund, including what it is, how it works, and the different regulations surrounding it. Whether you are an inmate, a family member, or simply interested in learning more about the criminal justice system, this blog will provide valuable insights into this important aspect of life behind bars.
So what is an inmate trust fund? Let's explore.
What is an Inmate Trust Fund?
An Inmate Trust Fund is a fund set up to provide safekeeping of an inmate's funds while incarcerated. The purpose of the Fund is to allow inmates to easily keep track of their funds while permitting others to send them money for use at the commissary. It is similar to a bank, as authorized parties are typically allowed to withdraw funds from it, while anyone who knows the inmate's identification information can typically make a deposit.
How the Inmate Trust Fund Works
To ensure safe and secure transactions with the Inmate Trust Fund, it's important to understand how it works. Depositing money into the fund requires being an authorized party, typically on the approved visitor list or Inmate Telephone List. Depending on the facility, various deposit options are available, such as money orders, cashier's checks, monthly checking account debit, ACH (Automated Clearing House) transfers, etc.
Regulations associated with the Trust Fund may vary from facility to facility, so knowing the guidelines for deposits and authorized access is essential. To ensure compliance with the facility's policies, individuals must remain informed about the rules and procedures related to the fund.
As of September 1st, 2020, only senders who are on the approved visitor list or Inmate Telephone List will be allowed to deposit money to inmates. Security is implementing this change to ensure further the safety and security of the inmates and staff on the units. Inmates are responsible for adding their loved ones to their Visitation List, and those unsure if they're on an approved list can contact the unit for verification.
By following the regulations and guidelines associated with the Inmate Trust Fund, individuals can ensure that all transactions are safe and secure. It's important to report any suspicious or concerning activity related to the fund to the appropriate authorities.
Inmate Trust Fund Deposits
Inmates are typically not allowed to keep cash on them while incarcerated, so funds are usually taken from them when they are booked into a cell. Relatives and friends can generally add to the account by sending a personal check, money order, or cashier's check, though some jails allow deposits to be made with a debit or credit card over the phone. Social Security checks, payroll checks, unemployment benefits, and tax refunds are also usually accepted into the account.
All payments need to have the inmate's correct identification information and the sender's information should it need to be returned due to deposit issues.
Moreover, Inmates are not allowed to keep cash on them while incarcerated, so their funds are usually taken from them when they are booked into a cell. This is where the Inmate Trust Fund comes in. Relatives and friends can add to the inmate's Trust Fund account by sending a personal check, money order, or cashier's check. Some jails may also allow deposits with a debit or credit card over the phone. In addition, Social Security checks, payroll checks, unemployment benefits, and tax refunds are usually accepted into the account.
It is important to ensure that all payments have the inmate's correct identification and sender's information in case they need to be returned due to deposit issues. It should be noted that the forms of payment accepted by each jail vary, so it is helpful to call ahead to find out before sending payment.
Single transaction deposits of $500.00 or more, as well as insurance, company, payroll, estate checks, and other disbursements, are held 14 days before inmate access is authorized. Cash and personal checks are unaccepted and will be returned to the sender.
What Can be Use of Inmate Trust Fund
Inmates can use their Trust Fund account to purchase items that may include deodorant, razors, and snacks from the facility commissary or through approved vendors. They can also save money for use when they are released.
The use of the Inmate Trust Fund is limited to purchases that are necessary for daily living or items that can help the inmate pass the time. In most cases, this includes items like deodorant, razors, and snacks that are not provided for free to inmates. Each cell block typically has a set time for inmates to purchase items from the commissary.
While incarcerated, it can be challenging for inmates to accumulate money in their Trust Fund accounts, especially considering prisoners are not typically paid much for their work. In many cases, family and friends will deposit money into their accounts by sending funds to a certain address. This enables inmates to purchase necessities and other necessities while in prison.
Inmates can also save money in their Trust Fund accounts for use when they are released. Upon their release, they can take possession of any money in their Trust Fund account. This can be particularly helpful for those released back into society who need financial support to get started.
It is important to note that the Inmate Trust Fund is not intended for extravagant purchases or frivolous spending. It is meant to provide a means for inmates to access necessary items and save for their future, and it should be used responsibly.
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How Can You Have Authorized Access to Inmate Funds?
Authorized access to an inmate's funds is typically limited to a small group of individuals with a relationship with the inmate. The inmate's spouse, attorneys, and immediate family members are usually allowed access to the money in the Inmate Trust Fund. However, those with court orders, proof of guardianship, and common-law spouses may also be granted access.
To gain access to the funds, authorized individuals must show proof of identification. This is an important security measure designed to prevent unauthorized access to the Inmate Trust Fund. In addition, visiting the jail in person and obtaining the inmate's signature is usually necessary to get money from the Inmate Trust Fund.
It is worth noting that each jail may have slightly different rules and regulations regarding authorized access to inmate funds. As such, individuals need to familiarize themselves with the specific guidelines at their loved one's correctional facility.
Overall, the restrictions on authorized access to inmate funds are in place to ensure that the Inmate Trust Fund is used safely and securely. By following the guidelines for authorized access, individuals can help ensure that the inmate's funds are used according to their wishes.
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When Is an Inmate Fund Released?
When an inmate is released from prison, any money in their Inmate Trust Fund account is usually provided to them in the form of a check. This money can help them reintegrate into society, such as paying for housing, transportation, or other basic needs. It is important to note that the exact timing and process for releasing the funds can vary depending on the institution and its specific policies.
In some cases, the release of the funds may be delayed if there are outstanding fines, fees, or other legal obligations that the inmate must satisfy before receiving the money. However, the funds can be released once these obligations have been met.
If the inmate does not claim the money within a certain timeframe after their release, typically 90 days, the funds will usually go to the inmate welfare fund. This fund benefits all inmates by providing educational or recreational resources or supporting other programs to improve the quality of life for incarcerated people.
Inmate Trust Fund Security Measures
Security is a top priority when it comes to the Inmate Trust Fund. To ensure the safety and security of inmates and staff, several measures are in place to protect the fund from illegal activity and misuse.
One of the most important security measures is restricting cash and personal checks. This helps to prevent the risk of theft and ensures that all funds are properly accounted for. Additionally, single transaction deposits of $500.00 or more, as well as insurance, company, payroll, estate checks, and other similar disbursements, are held for 14 days before inmate access is authorized. This allows time for the funds to be properly verified and ensures that no illegal activity occurs.
It is worth noting that Inmate Trust Fund accounts are closely monitored for any signs of illegal activity. Any violations of the rules and regulations governing the fund can result in prosecution, so all deposits and withdrawals must be made per the guidelines set forth by the correctional facility.
To ensure the safety and security of the Inmate Trust Fund, it is important to exercise caution when dealing with it. Sending funds to unfamiliar inmates can be risky and should be avoided, as well as sending money as a favor for another inmate. If extortion attempts occur, it is essential to report the matter immediately to the Unit Warden or the Office of the Inspector General.
Additionally, it is worth noting that inmate mail should not be sent to PO Box 60. It is important to mail all inmate correspondence directly to their assigned unit to ensure timely and secure delivery.
By adhering to these cautionary measures, you can help ensure that the Inmate Trust Fund is used safely and securely. It is crucial to remain vigilant and informed when dealing with any financial matters related to inmate accounts and to report any suspicious or concerning activity to the appropriate authorities.
Everything about Inmate Trust Fund Final Verdict
So there you have it, everything you need to know about Inmate Trust Funds! While incarcerated individuals may not have access to traditional banking systems, the Trust Fund is a secure and convenient way to manage their finances. Loved ones can also contribute to the fund to help support their incarcerated family members.
However, it's important to be aware of the rules and regulations surrounding the Trust Fund to ensure that it's used safely and securely. By following the guidelines for deposits and authorized access, you can help ensure that the Trust Fund serves its intended purpose of providing financial support to those who need it most.
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