Home > 2011 > Personal Finance

Going to Jail? There’s an ATM for That.

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So you’re in jail. What do you do with all that money you had in your pocket when you were arrested? Use an ATM, of course. Las Vegas-based Continental Prison Systems announced recently that it will install four ATM-like kiosks in lobbies at Riker’s Island, New York City’s massive jail complex. The kiosks can be used by prisoners, their friends and relatives to hold money, which can be used for bail or after their release.

The kiosks will help to further remove cash from the city’s jail system, where paper money is viewed as contraband, according to the New York Department of Corrections.

“Riker’s is one of the leaders in the corrections space,” Ron Hodge, CEO of Continental, says in a press release. “They’ve obviously seen the strain in the economy and recognize the opportunity to reduce costs.”

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People can deposit money into prisoners’ accounts using cash, debit and credit cards. One kiosk will be placed in a booking room, so that incoming prisoners can load money into their accounts as they relinquish it. Another kiosk will handle bail payments.

When a prisoner is released, he or she will get an EZ Card with the balance of their trust account loaded onto it. The cards will function like prepaid debit cards, and will replace paper checks issued to people on release.

Jail and prison systems don’t pay for the kiosks and cards, according to Continental’s website. That probably means the cost of running the service is covered from fees charged to prisoners, their families and friends. We placed a call to Continental to find out more about these fees, but haven’t heard back yet. We’ll let we know what we find out.

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Image: sean hobson, via Flickr.com

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