Simon Says

Bringing clarity to the inner workings of our legal system

8 Things to know about accessing money in prison

  1. Food and accommodations cost money. After the intake assessment, offenders typically have to contribute part of their work pay (22%) and part of their other sources of income (normally 30%). There is also an 8% deduction for maintaining the phone system. However, some offenders may be exempt from paying or only have to pay a reduced amount.


  1. Inmates have two distinct accounts: current and savings. The current account is used for day-to-day purchases, such as canteen items. Larger purchases can be made directly from a savings account with the warden’s permission (e.g. to support an offender’s family, pay legal fees, cover the cost of post-secondary course, etc.).


  1. Pay is split between the current and savings account. When an offender is paid, 90% of the pay (minus deductions) goes into the current account, and 10% is deposited into the savings account.


  1. There are restrictions on the amount that can be in each kind of account. Only a maximum of $69 per pay can be deposited into the current account, and the rest goes into savings. A maximum of $750 per year can be transferred from a savings account to current account, and transfers are typically only allowed up to 4 times per year.


  1. Money an offender brings into the institution goes into a savings account. This money would then have to be transferred into a current account.


  1. Money can be sent to an offender from friends and family. There must be a “verifiable legitimate relationship” and CSC may hold funds for up to 30 days. These funds go into a savings account (except pensions or gifts).


  1. CSC can seize suspicious money. If CSC has reason to believe that money from an outside source or money brought back by an offender was obtained through unauthorized or illegal activities, then staff will investigate and the money will be held until the investigation is complete. Police may be contacted and pursue their own investigation.


  1. When released, offenders get the money in their accounts. A maximum of $200 can be given in cash and the rest is given via cheque. At minimum, offenders get $50 upon release.
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