A pod unit inside Greene County Jail. (Photo by Bruce Stidham)

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I recently asked the Greene County Sheriff’s office questions about what happens to the cash people have on them when they enter the jail.

Despite what some think, based on rumors I’ve heard over the years, the money does not go into any funds used to run the jail. But inmate funds can be seized, upon release, if the inmate has medical fees due or has damaged county property.

The response to my queries came in a letter from Tanner Pruitt, with the Greene County Sheriff’s Office technology services. I have supplemented that with information on the sheriff’s website.

Here is what I learned:

“Any cash brought in by inmates is deposited into a kiosk by that inmate that is managed and maintained by the IC Solutions/Keefe Group, a company that provides cash management services to correctional institutions. The inmate is then given a deposit slip showing the amount deposited.”

IC Solutions/Keefe Group is based in Texas.

From the sheriff’s website: “All checks and money orders that the person entering the jail has in their possession will remain in the offender’s property.”

Q: Where does the cash go as they serve their time?

“IC Solutions contracts with Brinks Security to remove the cash deposited into the kiosk on an as-needed basis, typically when the kiosk is at or near capacity. Additionally, the amount deposited is entered into the inmate’s commissary account which the inmate has access to and can use to purchase commissary items.”

Commissary items include things like sodas.

Q: Upon release, is an inmate given a prepaid card?

“Yes, debit (prepaid) cards containing the deposit amount remaining after the inmate’s commissary purchases, or the entire deposit amount if there were no commissary purchases, are issued by Numi Financial, a partner to IC Solutions.”

From the sheriff’s website: “Some funds may be frozen on your account for outstanding medical fees. These funds will not be released at the time of your release.

“Destruction or defacing of County property will result in your account being frozen until the incident is investigated. If fault is proven, the amount for repairs and/or replacement may be deducted from your account.”

Q: Is there a fee assessed on the prepaid card?

“Fees are assessed by Numi Financial per the attached fee schedule.”

According to that schedule, the monthly charge is $5.95. There is no inactivity fee. The funds do not earn interest.

The agreement also states:

“The card has been provided pursuant to the Prestige Inmate Card Program. The Card is a prepaid card. The Card is not a credit card. The Card is not a gift card, nor is it intended to be used for gifting purposes. The Card is not a checking or savings account. You will not receive any interest on your funds in your Card Account. There is no credit line associated with your Card.

“You may not use your Card for any online gambling, escort services, or any illegal transaction, even if gambling is legal in the jurisdiction where the activity took place.

“We are not responsible for your losses from gambling or illegal activity. It is your responsibility to determine if your usage is legal. You may not use your Card Number or the Issuer’s routing number and your assigned account Number in connection with the creation and/or negotiation of any financial instruments, such as checks, which we have not authorized.”

This is Pokin Around column No. 78.

Steve Pokin

Steve Pokin writes the Pokin Around and The Answer Man columns for the Springfield Daily Citizen. He also writes about criminal justice issues. He can be reached at spokin@sgfcitizen.org. His office line is 417-837-3661. More by Steve Pokin