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The get-out-of-jail prepaid debit card

Service also lets friends bail you out 'from the comfort of home.'

By Karen Datko Oct 7, 2009 4:19PM

Debit cards are increasingly popular, so why shouldn’t jail inmates have them. How about a get-out-of-jail prepaid debit card when they’re set free?

 

They can. (Does this strike anyone else as kind of strange/funny?)

 

Continental Prison Systems Inc., doing business as EZ Card & Kiosk, is installing its booking and release kiosks and debit card services in jails here and there about the country.

 

Here’s what’s offered:

  • Pay your bail with your own credit or debit card or cash at the self-serve kiosk. Or if it’s more than you can handle, your friends and relatives can post bail at the kiosk or via a handy Web site "from the comfort of their own home," the company says. No more early morning trips down to the hoosegow to bail a misbehaving family member out.
  • When you’re booked, the kiosk "allows the inmate to send up to three pre-written 'EZ Text Messages' to friends, family and legal counsel," wrote Thomas Redman at CardTrak.com.

  • Bail’s not in your future? Your family and friends can use the same services to load up your in-house account so you can buy snacks and such. If you carried cash when you were busted, it will be deposited there too. 

  • Here’s the best part. Upon release, the inmate’s funds will be transferred to a PIN-based "exit card," "and the now ex-inmate will have the funds immediately available for withdrawal from over 900,000 ATMs nationwide," the company's Web site says. No credit check or bank account needed. We have to wonder how high the fees are.

The service is offered at no cost to taxpayers, and saves jailers time and money. All a jail needs is a high-speed Internet connection and a wall plug.

 

Related reading:

Published Oct. 7, 2009

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