Introduced as a pilot project in 2006 by the Co-operative Bank in conjunction with Kalyx, which manages the category B prison in Salford, this partnership allows prisons to offer basic bank accounts to prisoners prior to their release and has been shown to help reduce re-offending rates by around a third.
A study by the Research Unit for Financial Inclusion at Liverpool John Moores University, which analysed re-offending rates at the prison, also highlighted the scheme’s positive impact on promoting social and financial inclusion and the importance of its role with prisoner rehabilitation and resettlement in society.
The 1,000th inmate to open an account, said: “I’ve never had a bank account before and I’ve never had ID so I couldn’t get an account on the outside. It’s not been easy to get a job and I hope the account will help me — I’ve got my Fork Lift Truck license now and an account to put my wages in, it’s great.”
Tim Franklin, Chief Operating Officer of Co-operative Financial Services (CFS), added: “Access to a bank account is necessary for people to fully participate in modern society. We are pleased that this pioneering approach has been shown to play an important part in prisoner rehabilitation and has reached such a significant milestone at Forest Bank.
“I would encourage other banks to play their part in providing accounts for prisoners so all inmates can have this opportunity.”
Since the scheme began, the Bank has opened almost 5,000 basic bank accounts for prisoners and has relationships with 30 prisons — around one in five of all UK prisons. In 2009, the Bank’s ‘Banking on a Fresh Start’ initiative received a Big Tick award from Business in the Community (BiTC), this recognition was reaffirmed with a re-accreditation from BiTC in 2010. The project was also shortlisted in the 2009 ‘Financial Innovation Awards’.
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