People will no longer be able to send money directly to friends and relatives who are in North Carolina prisons, reports the Charlotte Observer. Instead, a private company will do it for them and, in most cases, charge them a fee. The state Department of Public Safety has contracted with JPay, a Miami-based firm that last week began offering new, faster ways to send prisoners money: over the Internet, on the telephone or at some pharmacies.
JPay also will handle money orders, which is the way prisoners have been receiving money. All of the options will cost a fee – ranging from $3.45 for online transfers of up to $20, to $11.65 for telephone transfers of up to $300 – except for money orders, which will not cost anything beyond the small fee the post office already charges. The state is promoting the change as a convenience that is widely used in other states, but some prisoner advocates are concerned that the change will hurt families who might not be able to afford the extra cost or don't have access to computers.