By Christopher Zoukis
In the world outside of prison monetary transactions are fairly simple. One party presents cash, a check, swipes a credit card, or wires funds to another party. The process is quick, simple, and widely understood. But for those with loved ones in federal prison, the transfer of funds can be a more complex matter.
Persons outside of federal prison have the option of sending money to their family and friends in federal prison via three distinct avenues: the U.S. Mail, money wire, and MoneyGram. While the U.S. Mail approach is perhaps the simplest, and least expensive, none of the three methods of monetary transfer are as easy as one would hope or expect.
DEPOSITING FUNDS VIA U.S. MAIL
Depositing funds via the U.S. Mail is the slowest, yet the least expensive and easiest method of depositing funds on a federal inmate’s trust fund account. In order to deposit funds on a federal inmate’s trust fund account, the sender must mail a U.S. Treasury, state, or local government check, U.S. Postal Money Order, or foreign negotiable instrument to:
Federal Bureau of Prisons
(Inmate’s Committed Name)
(Inmate’s Eight-Digit Register Number)
Post Office Box 474701
Des Moines, Iowa 50947-0001
Regardless of the amount of funds or to whom the funds are being sent, there are several restrictions which the sender must keep in mind when utilizing this method of financial transfer. One, the funds must be in U.S. currency. Fund transfers of foreign currencies will be rejected and not placed in the desired inmate’s trust fund account. Two, the negotiable instrument must have both the inmate’s full committed name and inmate register number on it. Three, the envelope must have the inmate’s full committed name and inmate register number on it. And four, no enclosures (e.g., letters, photos, etc.) other than the financial instrument are allowed.
While there are several allowable negotiable instruments, only the above listed ones will not require a clearance period (which can last up to several weeks). The easiest way to send money via the U.S. Mail is to simply go to a local post office and purchase a U.S. Postal Money Order. By doing so many problems can be sidestepped and the recipient can receive the funds they need in the most expedient manner (via the U.S. Postal Service that is).
DEPOSITING FUNDS VIA A MONEY WIRE
Funds can be sent to federal inmates via a money wire. This program can be completed in person, online, or via telephone. All fund transfer services incur a fee from the money wiring company. The fee varies depending on the amount of funds being sent.
~If a sender elects to go to a money wire location in person, they can locate their nearest branch by calling
1-800-325-6000. Once there, they need to obtain a Blue Quick Collect Form to send money to federal inmates. This avenue of monetary transfer allows for a credit card, debit card, and/or cash to be utilized.
~If a sender elects to send funds via telephone, they need to call 1-800-634-3422 and select option 2. Either a credit card or a debit card is required to utilize this method of monetary transfer. Since this can be completed from any telephone, this is perhaps the easiest method of transferring funds to a federal inmate’s trust fund account.
~If a sender elects to send funds online, they must go to a money wire service. There they will be required to utilize a credit card or a debit card to send funds.
Regardless of the option utilized, funds sent between 7 AM and 9 PM EST will be deposited to the inmate’s trust fund account within 2 to 4 hours of transaction. Funds sent after 9 PM EST will be deposited to the inmate’s trust fund account by 9 AM EST the following morning.
Regardless of the method of transfer utilized, the following information is required to send funds to federal inmates via a money wire:
~Inmate’s Committed Name
~Inmate’s Register Number
~City Code: FBOP
~State Code: DC
DEPOSITING FUNDS VIA MONEYGRAM
Funds can also be sent to federal inmates via MoneyGram’s Express Payment Program. This program, unlike wiring money, is only available in person at MoneyGram locations. These MoneyGram locations can be located by calling 1-800-926-9400 or going to www.MoneyGram.com.
Funds sent between 7 AM and 10 PM EST are deposited into the federal inmate’s trust fund account within 2 to 4 hours of transaction. Funds sent after 10 PM EST are deposited by 9 AM the following morning. These hours of service are more expansive than those offered by Western Union, but more restrictive in that the transfer has to take place in person.
MoneyGram charges a $9.95 fee for transfers of up to $5,000. As far as electronic transfers go, MoneyGram is the most expedient method of transaction for the lowest cost, though the sender must go to a MoneyGram location to initiate the fund transfer.
The following information is always used when sending funds to a federal inmate via MoneyGram:
~Company Name: Federal Bureau of Prisons (FBOP)
~City & State: Washington, DC
~Receive Code: 7932
~Account Number: Inmate’s last name and register number (no spaces)
~Message to Biller or Beneficiary Name: Inmate’s full committed name
By utilizing one of these three methods of financial transfer, friends and families of federal inmates can ensure that the funds sent to their loved ones who are incarcerated in the Federal Bureau of Prisons will reach them unabated. They can also ensure to avoid the hassles common with sending money to federal inmates.