A British experiment to open bank accounts for prisoners put on parole found that the ex-cons who got accounts were only half as likely as other parolees to reoffend, says the Grits for Breakfast blog, quoting Karen Franklin’s blog on forensic psychology. Four out of five of the offenders never had a bank account before.
Researchers noted that “without a bank account, measures to enable ex-prisoners to gain access to settled accommodation, employment and education are more complex and difficult to implement.” More than 70 percent of ex-offenders for whom bank accounts were established continued to use them after release – a particularly striking finding considering how many had never before had any banking relationship. In Texas, offenders are given a small sum in cash when they leave prison. Grits for Breakfast suggests that the state give them a ban account in an institution in the town they’ll be released and give them a debit card and pin number instead. In the best of all possible worlds, preparation for reentry would also include classes in personal financial management.