Continental Prison Systems Inc. announced April 23 the installation of two kiosks in the Ingham County Jail in Mason, Mich., that accept cash from inmates and their visitors. Continental Prison in three months also will install a kiosk that loads inmates’ funds into debit card accounts before the jail releases them.

PaymentsSource could not reach a spokesperson for Fresno, Calif.-based Continental Prison Systems. In the past, Continental officials have loaded funds into card accounts managed by U.S. PayCard, a Las Vegas-based company and an investor in Continental, which does business EZ Card & Kiosk (see story) .

Peoples Bank of Paris, Texas, issues the card and is Continental’s merchant acquirer. Released inmates may use the debit card to withdraw funds from any ATM where the Star PIN-debit brand is accepted. The debit card eliminates the need for jails to issue checks to former inmates, Continental official said in a news release. 

The kiosks also eliminate thefts by jail employees, a frequently problem but one that rarely is discussed, say jail-industry observers.

Ingham County Jail is a 660-bed facility, and Continental installed a kiosk in the visitor lobby and booking areas. Inmate visitors use the visitor’s kiosk to deposit funds into accounts designated for specific inmates, who may deposit their own funds using the kiosk in the jail’s booking area. The kiosks create an account for the inmate.

Jail employees give the inmates receipts for their funds, which they use to make purchases. Jail employees keep a tab on the purchases by deducting purchases from the inmate’s account. The booking-area kiosk doubles as a bail kiosk, enabling the inmate to bail himself out of jail.

Both kiosks accept cash, credit cards or debit cards, according to Continental, which trained jail workers to operate the kiosks.

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