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Procedure Properties

Title: Payments to Prisoners on Discharge
Category: Offender Management
Version: 04
Implement Date: 16 November 2011
Application: Custodial Operations
Availability: Public

Authority

Appendices and Forms

  • Application for Issue of Travel Voucher (in-confidence)

Procedures

Policies

  • Instrument of Financial and Travel Delegations (Department of Community Safety) (in-confidence)

Ownership: Custodial Operations

Procedure - Payments to Prisoners on Discharge


Purpose
1.Process
2.Application for travel
3.Calculation of available funds for travel purposes
3.1Sufficient funds
3.2Insufficient funds
4.Debit balance
5.Centrelink payment to prisoner on discharge
5.1Notice to Centrelink of prisoner's release
5.2Release of prisoners outside normal business hours

Purpose

To ensure a prisoner has sufficient funds to cover the cost of travel to a chosen destination when discharged and to facilitate the payment of the final balance of the trust fund to the prisoner on discharge.

1. Process

Refer procedure - Prisoner Monies.

Upon a prisoner's discharge from a corrective services facility, the total credit balance in his/her operating account must be paid to the prisoner except uncleared receipts, committed external purchases and other amounts as deemed appropriate by the general manager.

After determining the total credit balance of a prisoner's trust fund at the time of discharge, an expenditure voucher must be completed and authorised to pay money by means of a maximum of $100 cash excluding Centrelink discharge payments, approved travel allowance and other amounts as deemed appropriate by the general manager. The remaining balance is to be paid by cheque. Upon payment, the prisoner must provide written acknowledgment of the receipt of the monies.

2. Application for travel

A prisoner may apply for assistance with travel fares in accordance with CSA s. 108(4). Refer - Instrument of Financial and Travel Delegations (Department of Community Safety) (in-confidence).

Refer administrative form - Application for Issue of Travel Voucher (in-confidence).

In the case where a prisoner has no money or insufficient funds at the time of discharge, the general manager may, if considered appropriate, provide the prisoner with assistance with travel fares.

Refer section 3 of this procedure.

Travel arrangements must be finalised prior to discharge if possible. Costs associated with excess luggage and property will be the sole responsibility of the prisoner.

3. Calculation of available funds for travel purposes

The general manager may deduct an amount from a prisoner's account to pay for, or contribute to the cost of, the prisoner's travel on discharge from a corrective services facility.

Refer CSA s. 314(e).

When preparing for a prisoner's discharge, the total cost of travel if applicable must be calculated to determine whether the prisoner's trust fund has sufficient funds to cover this expense.

The total travel cost equals the cost of travel to a prisoner's chosen destination plus at least $40 per day to cover other travel expenses (excluding any Centrelink payment).

Examples of the application of this provision are provided below -

Scenario No.

Trust Fund Balance

Travel cost

No. of travel days

Total travel cost

Facility Action

1

$400

$100

1

$140

Book Travel

2

$200

$100

1

$140

Book Travel

3

$100

$100

2

$180

Review Travel

NB Prisoner contribution to travel is GST exclusive.


3.1 Sufficient funds

Sufficient funds are deemed as enough means to meet the total travel cost.

Scenario 1 -

A prisoner has a trust fund balance of $400 at the time of discharge. Travel will cost $100. Therefore $400 minus $100 leaves $300 (this leaves more than $40 per day for travel necessities). The prisoner pays the full $100 travel cost. Staff at the facility may book the travel and deduct $100 from the trust fund and on discharge pay to the prisoner the remaining balance of $300, from which the prisoner must pay any additional travel costs to cover necessities.

Scenario 2 -

A prisoner has a trust fund balance of $200 at the time of discharge. Travel will cost $100. Therefore $200 minus $100 leaves $100 (this leaves more than $40 per day for travel necessities). The prisoner pays the full $100 travel costs. Staff at the facility may book the travel and deduct $100 from the trust fund and on discharge pay to the prisoner the remaining balance of $100, from which the prisoner must pay any additional travel costs to cover necessities.

3.2 Insufficient funds

Scenario 3 -

A prisoner has a trust fund balance of $100 at the time of discharge. Travel will cost $100. For two days travel the prisoner must have $80 ($40 per day) to cover necessities. The prisoner does not have enough funds to cover total travel costs when discharged.

If a prisoner has an insufficient funds or a debit balance at the time of discharge, he/she may apply to the general manager for assistance in returning to his/her place of arrest, residence, place of employment or other reasonable destination. Refer CSA s 108(4); procedure - Exit

The general manager must review the prisoner's application and/or proposed travel costs. If the general manager considers the prisoner's travel cost and time is reasonable, the facility may pay the short fall, ensuring that the prisoner on discharge has the $40 per day to cover necessities. Alternatively, the general manager may determine an alternative, more economical travel plan and the facility may pay the shortfall, if any. Refer - Instrument of Financial and Travel Delegations (Department of Community Safety) (in-confidence).

4. Debit balance

A debit balance in a prisoner's trust fund at the time of discharge must be either -

  1. recovered from the prisoner at the time of discharge (eg. from awaiting relatives or friends); or
  2. written off in accordance with the financial delegations and the procedure - Prisoner Monies.

5. Centrelink payment to prisoner on discharge

5.1 Notice to Centrelink of prisoner's release

For Centrelink to provide a pre-release service to prisoners, advance notice of release is required for prisoners wishing to apply for Centrelink payments.

Form SU517 - Release Notification Ledger (available at the corrective services facility) can be used for this purpose, however locally tailored formats may be used if preferred.

Prisoners may apply for a Crisis Payment up to 21 days in advance, however as release dates may change within a 21 day period, a lesser time frame may be more appropriate for notification. Requirements for advance notification of release will need to be determined at the local level.

Refer Centrelink Form SU508.0504 - Claim for Crisis Payment.

If the release date provided to Centrelink changes, the corrective services facility should notify Centrelink within 48 hours or before the previously advised release date, whichever is sooner.

5.2 Release of prisoners outside normal business hours

Assistance should be provided in the facilitation of Centrelink payments for prisoners released or discharged outside business hours or who are otherwise unable to access a cash payment on the date of release.

Where a prisoner is unable to access a cash payment on the day of release through usual processes, access to a cash payment will be delivered by either -

  1. depositing the prisoner's Centrelink cheque to the corrective services facility's trust account and providing a cash payment on the day of release; or
  2. issuing a Centrelink Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) Card on the day of release.

The cheque method of payment will be given first preference. EBT's will be used in limited circumstances.

The following method of payment of Centrelink cheques and EBT's must be adhered to -

  1. authorised staff receive cheque and EBT handovers;
  2. provide safe and secure storage of Centrelink cheques and EBT's until issued to the prisoner;
  3. witness that the prisoner signs their application form stating they have received their payment ;
  4. sign as a witness to the prisoner's signature;
  5. provide Centrelink with phone or fax confirmation that the prisoner was or was not released on the previously notified date; and
  6. return the payment, cheque or EBT if the prisoner is not being released.



PETER BOTTOMLEY
Acting Commissioner





Version History

16/11/2011 - Version 0407/01/2011 Version 03 - 28/08/2006 Version 02 - 24/05/2006 Version 01 - 05/09/2001 Version 00