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Prisoner monies are held in trust using a computerised accounting system which is used to record, store, transfer and control prisoners' monies. Prisons manage prisoners’ accounts which hold their earnings, savings and deposits from family and friends.
Prisoners are paid for work undertaken in work programs or attendance at prison programs at three different levels calculated according to the degree of responsibility, complexity of the task, skills required and hours of duty involved. Prisoners also receive payment for participation in prison programs which can include educational programs.
An amount equal to 20 per cent of money earned by prisoners is withheld from the prisoner for compulsory savings and made available to the prisoner only on release from prison. This is to help the prisoner with costs related to their re-integration into the community.
There is no limit to the amount of money that can be held in a prisoner’s account.
Prisoners may receive money from relatives and friends in accordance with prison guidelines. Relatives and friends may bring money to the prison when visiting or send a cheque or money order in the mail. In either case the money is deposited into the prisoner’s ‘private money’ account. The maximum amount of ‘private money’ a prisoner can receive is $140 per calendar month.
Prisoners may apply to make a one-off special purchase for which more than $140 would need to be credited to their account (for example, the purchase of a computer for educational purposes).
Prison management may also allow a prisoner to receive additional private money to enable long-distance phone calls to keep in touch with family and friends.
Each prison has guidelines for depositing money into prisoners’ accounts. See the property and money information listed for each specific prison.
Withdrawals from a prisoner’s account
Regulations allow that prison management may deduct money from a prisoner's account for specific purposes. For example, money may be deducted to cover the cost of replacement or repair of prison property or clothing that is damaged or lost by the wilful act of the prisoner. This money cannot be deducted from the prisoner’s savings.
If, as a result of a prison disciplinary hearing, a fine is imposed on a prisoner, then authorisation is given for the amount to be withdrawn from the prisoner's account. Where a prisoner is required to pay a fine or restitution, and does not have enough money in their account to cover the amount, the prisoner's expenditure may be restricted for a specified period.