United States Office Prisons (BOP) allows inmates to keep large sums of money (in some cases up to $ 200,000) in government-administered accounts that have little control and are protected from most court orders, according to a Washington Post report released Wednesday.
“There are more than 20 inmate accounts that have more than $ 100,000 each for a total of more than” $ 3 million, a person with knowledge of the accounts who spoke on condition of anonymity told the Post.
These accounts effectively allow inmates to border on alimony, alimony and other debts to which they are subject.
“Inmates use this banking system to protect that money,” said Jason Wojdylo, recently retired from the U.S. Marshals Service, he told the Post.
He said the funds are not subject to oversight by the U.S. Treasury and the BOP rarely enforces a law passed by Congress that requires offenders to pay their debts.
Wojdylo said he spent years unsuccessfully trying to convince BOP to change his posture before retiring.
Many inmates of impoverished origin and most inmates make little money inside prisons. Work programs in prisons pay the inmates just $ 0.20 an hour to work and exceed about $ 5.
Inmates can use the funds to buy property from the prison commissioner or to make phone calls, the cost of which is covered at $ 0.21 a minute and sending emails, even though the prison system has been criticized for the cost of communication services.
Therefore, most accounts have little money.
However, inmates may be charged with making restitution payments when convicted. These can range from sums of a few thousand to hundreds of thousands (and even millions) of dollars.
Given this reality, inmates have to pay little, a minimal amount, for restitution. The minimum is about $ 25 a month, Wojdylo said.
Those “with thousands, sometimes tens of thousands of dollars in deposit in their trust account, even though they only contribute the minimum amount of restitution and fines needed,” he continued.
BOP officials are often reluctant to encourage inmates to use their accounts to pay the restitution in full, according to documents cited by the Post.
Jerry Anthony Bowman, a Tennessee man convicted of bank robbery, said a BOP member encouraged him to pay just $ 100 a month while behind bars, the newspaper reported. When he left, he would only have paid half of what he owed.
Bowman tried to pay the $ 16,000 he owed with the BOP account, but was forced to ask a judge to order the money to be withdrawn from his account.
The request was granted. However, it is not necessary to ask for a judge’s order for the money to be transferred from a prisoner’s account.
A 2008 decision by a federal appeals court said the BOP “does not need court permission to remit money from an inmate’s account, with or without the inmate’s consent.”
Federal prosecutors are concerned that the money in these accounts could promote illegal activities both outside and inside prisons.
He Coronavirus pandemic virtually stopped the face-to-face visit of prisoners and the outside world, which some believed would reduce the flow of drugs to correctional institutions at the state level.
But the drug was maintained, according to numerous reports, in part thanks to corrupt prison guards who carried drugs and other types of contraband.
They are also concerned about the stimulus controls handed out to inmates, both in BOP prisons and in the state and local.
The Post reported that 37,852 checks were handed out in excess of $ 38 million to federal inmates, although it is not yet clear how many reached inmates in BOP custody, which stands at about 129,000.
A BOP spokesman told the Post that it “recognizes the importance of compensating victims and encourages all inmates to fulfill their financial obligations by participating in the Inmate Financial Accountability Program.”
However, he cannot compel inmates to pay alimony or alimony ordered by state courts.
Wojdylo told the Post that the BOP’s stance on inmates’ accounts is “incredibly frustrating.”