What’s a Release Card?

Rounding out our January series from Prison Policy Initiative, what’s a Release Card? When a person leaves a correctional facility, they often receive their funds, which include wages earned while incarcerated, support from family members, or money they possessed when arrested, on a pre-paid debit card. While pre-paid debit cards are common, it might be the first time an incarcerated person is navigating the process.

For a federally released inmate, the process can become even more arduous. What if the card doesn’t work? Who do you contact for help? North Dakota Department of Corrections is a great example for using best practices. The Comerica Bank card has few fees compared to other companies, and doesn’t include a mandatory arbitration provision. North Dakota Department of Corrections joined other state agencies that used prepaid debit cards (for payments like unemployment benefits) to negotiate a group contract with good consumer protections.

Share This Post: