A former inmate of the Dallas County Jail on Tuesday told county commissioners that jail inmates who set out to reclaim their money after being released are charged with debit card fees in some cases.
Released inmates who depart with more than $20 in their inmate accounts are issued a debit card with the total balance in order to prevent money-handling issues. If the individual does not use the debit card, the card is charged a monthly $1.50 fee, and if the individual uses the card at a bank not affiliated with the county credit union, a withdrawal fee is also charged, DallasNews.com reports.
The fees were brought to light after Steve Mathis, a former inmate, notified commissioners of the fees at the end of a meeting.
“He gave us money,” Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price said, according to DallasNews.com. “He should be able to get his money back.”
There are two county credit union locations in the downtown Dallas area, but neither location is within walking distance of the jail.
Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez said that she will investigate whether the credit union can install a kiosk or ATM inside the jail complex to allow inmates to withdrawal money without being charged fees, DallasNews.com reports.
Inmates booked into the jail are required to surrender any cash on-hand, which is then place into their inmate account while they serve their sentence. Family members can add to the inmate’s account balance during their jail sentence.