Earlier this year, at the behest of the Department of Justice, the Bureau of Prisons announced that it would implement changes to the Inmate Financial Responsibility Program–the system through which the government can access an inmate’s money to pay off the inmate’s fines or restitution obligations. The changes come after some organizations criticized how some inmates are able to amass large sums of money in their prison accounts while allegedly shirking their obligations to pay fines and restitution, though other advocates claim the BOP’s new changes would hurt poor inmates.
The new proposals, outlined in the Inmate Financial Responsibility Program in the Federal Register, would eliminate the rule requiring that inmate accounts always have a minimum balance ($75), which exists so inmates can pay for phone calls with family members. Another new proposal would require that half of the money earned by inmates working prison jobs would go to fine and restitution obligations.
Ultimately, the regulations will go through the administrative process before becoming final, though Congress could take steps to change or prevent the new rules from taking place.