The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Who Are the Real Crooks?

Apr 27, 2015

According to the news, banks and prisons are profiting by charging fees to inmates through so-called “release cards.” It is becoming a common practice. Prisons deposit inmates’ money into these debit cards before they release the inmates.

There is a banking fee, whether the card is used or not: a fee for managing the card, a fee every time the card is used at an ATM, fees for transferring the money to a bank and closing the account, an inactivity fee if the card is not used for 90 days, and on and on.

These fees drastically deplete inmates’ already meager balances. As one former inmate said: “I left prison with $120. Because of the fees I was only able to use about $70 of it.”

Banking giants like Chase and other financial institutions design and issue these cards. All correctional facilities, federal, state and private prisons alike, use them. As a common practice, the banks send a cut of the collected fees directly to the prison agencies and jails as “legalized” kickbacks. So, these cards are a bonanza for the banks AND prisons.

So, then, who are the real crooks?