Written Questions are submitted by MPs or Lords to receive information from a Department.
|11 Sep 2017, 4:41 p.m.||Offenders: Bank Services||David Hanson|
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what discussions his Department has had with banks, building societies and savings co-operatives on the introduction of a scheme to help offenders open bank accounts.
Answer (Mr 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.