This is a guide to sending funds and money to someone in prison.
The prison ‘shop’
In public sector prisons, inmates are able to purchase a number of items such as tobacco, non-prescribed medication, additional food and toiletries, hobby materials and stationery, chosen to meet the particular needs of individual prison populations from a national product list (NPL) of approved items. Prisoners may also purchase other items such as clothing or religious artefacts from approved retail catalogues.
Perhaps the most important thing that a prison shop sells is paper, envelopes, and stamps. To a prisoner these are the best items because it allows the inmate to write to someone on the outside.
While some facilities will provide a small amount of stamps and paper to prisoners who cannot afford it, not all prisons will. Many times people will write to their prisoner and not get a letter back and it is simply for the reason that the inmate is unable to afford stamps and paper.
A visit to the shop is usually held once a week and can really only be enjoyed if the prisoner has money in his or her account.
How much money is a prisoner able to spend per week
The money that a convicted prisoner can spend is also restricted based on their behaviour
and level on the incentives and earned privileges (IEP) scheme.
The IEP scheme is a national scheme with four distinct levels: entry, basic, standard and enhanced. The scheme has the following aims:
- to encourage responsible behaviour by prisoners;
- to encourage effort and achievement in work and other constructive activity by prisoners;
- to encourage sentenced prisoners to engage in sentence planning and benefit from activities designed to reduce reoffending;
- and to create a more disciplined, better-controlled and safer environment for prisoners and staff.
These aims are achieved by ensuring that privileges above the statutory minimum are earned by prisoner is able to spend per week is £25.50. However, in practice most prisoners are limited to being able to spend £15.50. The amount of money which prisoners held on remand can access and spend, and what may be supplied to them by family are greater.
These limits have not changed since 2008.
How you send money to an inmate
This new Government service enables you to make an online transfer to someone in prison using a debit/credit card.
Before you start
You’ll need the:
- prisoner’s date of birth
- prisoner number
You can use this service to make a payment by Visa, Mastercard or Maestro debit card. Money usually takes less than 3 working days to reach a prisoner’s account, but it may take longer.
This service is free, secure and available in all prisons in England and Wales.
You can no longer send money by bank transfer, cheque, postal order or send cash by post to any prison. You’ll need to use a debit card instead.