Written Question on Prisoners: Bank Services

Written Questions are submitted by MPs or Lords to receive information from a Department.

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Date Title Questioner
11 Sep 2017, 4:41 p.m. David Hanson (Labour - Delyn) David Hanson

Question to the Ministry of Justice:

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what training his Department provides to prison officers to assist prisoners in the opening of bank accounts.

Answered by Sam Gyimah

HMPPS coordinates the Offender Banking Programme in England and Wales which runs in partnership with 6 major UK commercial banks and a leading Building Society in order to give offenders who are soon to be released from custody the opportunity to apply for a basic bank account. Having access to a bank account is vital for access to benefits and to receive pay from employment on release, a key element in helping with the rehabilitation of offenders.

There are currently 101 prison-bank partnerships, the most recent partnership being made with HMP Berwyn, a large new public sector prison which opened earlier this year. Every resettlement prison has a relationship with a specific bank who offer direct support and guidance on their specific processes to prison staff to enable the opening of accounts.

On arrival in to custody, staff complete a Basic Custody Screening Tool and information from this indicates that 71% of prisoners have bank accounts. HMPPS does not keep a record of those who have left prison without a bank account. However, around 5,000 accounts per year are opened under the programme. The banks report a high percentage of those accounts subsequently being activated and used on release.

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