Significance of Bank Accounts for Prison Leavers
Providing prisoners with the right support before they leave prison, as well as the months following their release, is crucial for facilitating their reintegration back into society.
Once they leave prison, individuals can face many challenges and struggles if they don’t have the necessary infrastructures in place, and this can affect young offenders in particular. Many of the things we take for granted, such as family/support networks, housing, bank accounts, and more, are integral to helping prison leavers get back on their feet and, without them, individuals may be more at risk of ending up unemployed, homeless, and even reoffending. This is where organisations and charities can help, and it only takes some small actions and changes to make a big difference.
One area where organisations can offer support and guidance to prison leavers is by helping them to open a bank account, if they don’t already have one. Although banks don’t necessarily reject applications from people just because they’ve been to prison, the fact that they have a criminal record, and are likely to have a poor credit history and be unemployed, could make it more difficult for them to open an account.
Despite the potential challenges, there are a number of options available that organisations can help prison leavers to access. For example, although prison leavers may not be eligible for a standard current account, they may be able to open a basic account. These offer only the most essential features and would allow individuals to build up a credit and financial history. Opening a bank account may only be a simple action, but they allow you to pay bills, rent housing, receive benefits, and be in employment, all of which enable prison leavers to become financially stable and rebuild their lives.
This Knowyourmoney guide offers more information on the banking options that are available to prison leavers, and looks at how organisations can help them to negotiate any challenges they may encounter.
John Ellmore, KnowyourMoney.co.uk