IF someone you know has gone to prison, you may be wondering whether you'll be able to send them money.
But are you allowed to, and will they be able to use it? Here's all you need to know.
Can I send money to a prisoner?
When you're sent to prison, many of the freedoms enjoyed on the outside are taken away.
Should it happen to someone close to you, you may be wondering about how best to support them, and what restrictions there are on sending them money.
The good news is, you can send money to someone in prison, though there's a limit on what they're allowed to spend.
As of November 2nd, 2020, you're no longer able to send money by bank transfer, postal order, cheque, or send cash via post to any prison.
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Instead you'll have to use the Money to Prisoners Portal, where you can make a payment by Visa, Mastercard or Maestro debit card.
It usually takes less than three working days for the money to reach a prisoners account, though it may take longer.
This service is free and available to prisons in England and Wales with the exception of HMP Thameside.
Money can be sent to this prison using a different service.
Prisoners can apply for an exemption from electronic payments if they're unable to use a computer, a smart phone or the internet and/or they don't have a debit card.
How much money can I send to a prisoner?
Money sent in by friends and family will go into a private cash account.
Each week, prisoners are able to transfer a small amount to their spending account each week.
How much depends or whether they have been convicted and which IEP (Incentives and Earned Privileges) level they're on.
There is a cap of £900 that prisoners can have in their account.
What can prisoners spend money on?
Prisoners taking part in a course, or those who have a job at the prison get a weekly wage.
How much they're paid depends on the job, or the course they're part of, though it may be around £10.
Those not participating in training or work will get a weekly "unemployment" allowance, which is around 50p per day.
They money a prisoner has on arrival, as well as any funds they earn while in prison is put into their personal account.
They amount they're able to spend weekly varies, and is dependant on whether they are sentenced/convicted or on remand.
It also defends on what regime they're subject to, for example: basic, standard or enhanced.
These are privileges levels for prisons laid out in Incentives Policy Framework, which incentivise inmates to abide by the rules.
Most prisons provide a reception pack with basic toiletries, but prisoners will be able to buy extras from the canteen or prison shop.
The shop or canteen is a list of items which the prisoner can choose to buy.
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They can buy essentials like food, toiletries, clothes, phone credit; and other items if approved by the prison, including footwear, bedding, books, CDs and DVDs.
Items are ordered from it and the money is directly debited from their accounts.
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