Treasury Investigating BofA, JPMorgan's Monopoly On Inmate Bank Accounts, Post-Prison Debt Cards

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Government auditors are investigating exclusive contracts held by Bank of America Corp. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. to provide financial services inside federal prisons...Bank of America has been paid at least $76.3 million by Treasury to manage inmates’ accounts, money transfers, email service and other technology inside the 121 facilities managed by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. The contract has been amended 22 times since it was awarded without competitive bidding in 2000. The accounts hold the money inmates earn from prison jobs paying as little as 12 cents an hour and supplemental funds sent by family and friends. Inmates use the money for clothing, phone calls, food and other expenses. Treasury says the payments to Bank of America were reimbursed by the Department of Justice, the Bureau of Prisons’ parent agency. JPMorgan issues debit cards to inmates when they are released that contain the balance remaining in their prison accounts. JPMorgan’s original contract was awarded in 1998 and amended at least 14 times. It was re-upped in 2008 and amended at least four times since then. [Center For Public Integrity]

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