High fees charged to send money to NJ prison inmates

If you want to transfer money to someone, you can do so for free using Venmo, and several other companies allow you to perform this type of transaction for a small fee. But that’s not the case if you’re trying to send money to someone who’s locked up in a New Jersey jail.

Wanda Bertram, spokeswoman for the nonprofit Prison Policy Initiative, said the New Jersey Department of Corrections, like corrections in most other states, uses a for-profit corporation to handle banking operations. detainees.

“In New Jersey, it’s a company called Securus, which is actually pretty well known across the country for charging an arm and a leg to incarcerated people and their families,” she said. “If I want to make a deposit to my loved one in jail in New Jersey, I will see a $3 fee added to the $20.

15% processing fee

She noted that a $50 deposit into an inmate’s account requires a $7 processing fee.

Bertram said that means if family members want to give money to an incarcerated loved one, even for basic hygiene items, “if you can’t afford to pay an extra 15% on your deposit to your loved one who is in jail, then you really have nowhere to go.

In some situations, a check or cash can be mailed, she said, “but states make it very difficult to use any option other than the contractor they put in place. square”.

Why are the fees so high?

She called the charges “insane”.

“There is no reason to charge an arm and a leg to incarcerated people and their families, yet that is what our prison systems have chosen to do,” Bertram said.

Prison guard with keys walking outside the cell

fergregory

Bertram said the only reason these fees are so high is because the goal is to make money.

“These companies are there to make money and the prison system is okay with that. What is tragic about this is that the prison systems, if they wanted to, could bring these rates down,” she said.

Bertram said that makes it clear that the New Jersey Correctional Service doesn’t really care about people serving time behind bars.

“They’re willing to divest basic and essential services to any company that wants to get rid of them, rather than having to do it in-house.”

Man in prison hands behind steel cage bars. criminal offender locked in jail.

Rattankun Thongbun

She noted that prisons in Jersey and most prisons charge inmates 5 cents a minute to make a phone call, which is among the cheapest rates in the country, but legislation is needed to ensure that this rate is not not arbitrarily changed in the next few years.

The Department of Corrections was asked to comment on the matter, but they did not on Tuesday evening.

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]

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A trip to New Jersey doesn’t have to be just the beach. Our state has incredible trails, waterfalls and lakes to enjoy.

From the Pine Barrens to the Appalachian Trail to New Jersey’s hidden gems, you have plenty of options for a great hike. Hiking is a great way to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature, plus it’s a great workout.

Before you hit the trails and explore some of the suggestions from our listeners, I have a few tips on hiking etiquette from the American Hiking Society.

If you descend and encounter an uphill hiker, pull to the side and give the uphill hiker some space. An uphill hiker has the right of way unless they stop to catch their breath.

Always stay on the trail, you may see side paths, unless marked as an official trail, avoid them. Going off the trail, you risk damaging the ecosystems around the trail, the plants and wildlife that live there.

You also don’t want to disturb any wildlife you encounter, just keep your distance from the wildlife and continue hiking.

Cyclists must yield to hikers and horses. Hikers should also give in to horses, but I’m not sure how many horses you’ll encounter on New Jersey trails.

If you plan to take your dog on your hike, they must be on a leash and be sure to clean up all pet waste.

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