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Money: Using your P119 prisoner trust account

What is a P119 prisoner trust account?

Corrections Act 2004, s 46; Prison Operations Manual, F.05

Any cash you have when you arrive at the prison will be put into a prisoner trust account – called a “P119 account”. This is like a bank account but you can only use the money for certain items.

How do I get money in my trust account?

People outside the prison can put money into your P119 trust account. They can do this by sending you a cheque (made out to you) or setting up an electronic bank transfer.

People can also deposit cash into your P119 account when they visit you in the prison. They can’t send you cash in the mail.

If you’re doing paid work while you’re in prison, the money you earn will be put into your P119 account. As a guide, if you’re a cleaner in your unit for example you’ll get paid around $16 a week, while if you’re working in one of the prison industry jobs you’ll get up to around $25 a week.

What can I use my P119 trust account for?

You can use your P119 account to:

  • buy things from the prison canteen
  • send money to people outside the prison
  • buy things for hobbies, or medical or dietary items, or religious items like crucifixes.

What is the canteen?

The canteen is where you can buy extra things such as:

  • groceries
  • toiletries, such as roll-on deodorant, toothbrushes and shampoo
  • phone cards
  • postage stamps
  • chocolate and other confectionary.

How do I order from the canteen?

Canteen lists are printed and given to you so you can see what’s available.

How much money can I have in my trust account?

You’re allowed to have up to $200 in your P119 account at any one time.

You may be able to have more than this is you get specific permission from the prison.

What if I earn more than the limit?

People who are on work release programmes can set up independent bank accounts and save their money in those bank accounts, rather than in their P119 prisoner trust account, for when they’re released.

For more information, see the chapter “Working, studying and other activities on the inside”

How much money can I spend out of my trust account?

You can spend up to $70 a week.

Can I buy anything that’s not on the canteen list?

Yes. You can buy items for:

  • a hobby (but the hobby and hobby materials must have been approved by the PCO; the rules for hobby materials are set out in the Authorised Property Rules)
  • medical or dietary requirements
  • religious purposes.

You can only buy items that are within the restrictions set out in the Authorised Property Rules.

Can I send money to people from my trust account?

If you get approval from your PCO, you can send money to people outside the prison. To get approval you’ll need to fill in a Request to Expend Funds form. The PCO can only refuse you permission if they have security concerns – for example, if they think the money will be used to do something illegal.

How do I transfer money out of my trust account when I’m released?

You’ll need to get your PCO’s approval by filling in a Request to Expend Funds form.

Getting your Steps to Freedom payment from Work and Income when you’re released

Social Security Act 1964, s 124(1)(d); Special Needs Grant Programme

This is a lump-sum payment of $350 that every prisoner gets after being in prison for 31 days or more, whether on remand or after being sentenced. Either Work and Income will come to the prison before you’re released and give you a cheque with your name on it, or alternatively you can be given a Steps to Freedom form with your photo on it, which you can then take to a Work and Income office after you’re released so that they can then give you a cheque.

End of Chapter

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