Each inmate has an Inmate Bank Account set up in their name. In order for checks or money orders to be deposited into their account, an inmate must assign power of attorney to DOC. Funds received for the inmate, from any approved source, while the inmate is in custody of the Department of Corrections will be deposited in this account except for money specifically meant for the inmate's debit phone account (see Inmate Telephone Access for more information).
Inmates may use the funds in their bank account to purchase items such as writing supplies, hygiene items and snacks.
Court ordered financial obligations, special program financial obligations and costs incurred while in custody of the DOC are automatically withdrawn from an inmate's account.
How can I send money to an inmate?
Inmates may receive business/payroll checks, cashier's checks or money orders through the mail only for deposit into their Inmate Bank Account. Personal checks and cash are not accepted and will be returned to the sender at the expense of the inmate.
Inmates receive a receipt for funds sent in to them or stamped on envelope for phone account.
Can anyone send in money to an inmate?
No. Inmates cannot receive any funds from another inmate, parolee or person on felony probation from any jurisdiction or from another inmate's family or friends.
What happens to money the inmates earn while working?
Any earnings from an Institutional, Work Release, CTP, Traditional or Private Sector Prison Industries payroll will be deposited into an inmate’s account according to established procedures.
Inmates assigned to the Work Release program will first have room and board expenses and other authorized work expenses deducted from their work release paycheck(s) and the remaining funds will be distributed according to the DOC policy.
Inmates assigned to the Private Sector Prison Industries (PSPI) Program will first have obligations under DOC Policy deducted from their PSPI payroll and the remaining financial resources will be distributed according to policy.
What types of accounts are available to inmates?
There are several types of accounts, including Commissary, Disbursement, Savings and Frozen.
A Commissary or Spend account is an account into which is placed a maximum balance/deposit of $140.00 per 28 days from all money received. An inmate may make purchases from the commissary spending account at the rate of no more than $35.00 per week. Typically, inmates utilize their commissary account to purchase snacks, soda, and toiletry items.
The Disbursement account is an account made up of a group of financial obligations into which is placed fifty (50) percent of an inmate’s financial resources each 28 day period after the $140.00 commissary spending account balance/deposit limit is reached. This account is used to pay court ordered obligations and other costs according to the inmate’s Financial Plan and will be distributed among the following:
- Child Support;
- Other court ordered obligations including fines, fees, sanctions and restitution;
- Costs incurred while in the custody of the DOC; or
- Costs of incarceration (Only if 1 through 3 are non-existent).
The cost of incarceration fees do not apply to wages from the Private Sector Prison Industries Program or Work Release or for inmates housed in South Dakota’s prison system from other jurisdictions when the other jurisdiction is paying the SD DOC a per diem for the inmate's housing. For Private Sector Prison Industries Program and Work Release wages, inmates will be charged a supplemental room and board charge if 1 through 3 above are non-existent. Other jurisdiction inmates housed on a per diem payment basis, if 1 through 3 above are non-existent, the fifty (50) percent will be placed in the inmate’s frozen account.
Savings and Frozen Accounts include those into which is placed at least fifty percent of an inmate’s financial resources each 28 day period after the $140.00 commissary spending account balance/deposit limit is reached. There is a minimum $100.00 frozen account balance before money may be spent from the savings account unless authorized due to indigence or the inmate is serving a life or death sentence. At the inmate’s request, money in their savings account may be used to enhance payments in the inmate’s disbursement account. After the $100.00 minimum frozen account balance is reached, the remaining money in the savings account can be used to make authorized purchases of property items approved by the warden. An inmate may not accumulate more than $250.00 in the savings account. Any money over $350.00 ($100.00 frozen account plus $250.00 in savings account) must go toward the obligations the inmate has listed in his/her disbursement account (excluding cost of incarceration).
After all Disbursement Account obligations have been met, any additional monies except as noted above for Work Release and Private Sector Prison Industries Program inmates, regardless of the source, above the $350.00 ($100.00 minimum frozen account balance plus $250.00 in savings) will stay in the inmate’s frozen account until their release from custody. Inmates may continue to add to the frozen account until their release from custody, once all disbursement obligations have been fulfilled. Inmates may not withdraw funds from their frozen account without the approval of the Warden and then only if they are serving a life or death sentence or the inmate has a documented, legitimate and compelling use for the funds.
Who keeps track of account balances?
There is a computerized system in place to keep track of inmate bank account balances. Inmates receive periodic printouts of their account balances and are responsible for keeping track of their own account balances.
What happens to the money when an inmate leaves the prison system?
An inmate’s account will be closed upon the inmate’s release (discharge) or conditional release (parole or suspended sentence). The balance of the inmate’s accounts (commissary, savings, family support and frozen) will be included and any prorated payroll money due. A single check is issued to the inmate for the entire amount due.