In 1930 the Department of Justice authorized and established a Commissary at each Federal institution. The Commissary was created to provide a bank type account for inmate monies and for the procurement of articles not regularly issued as part of the institution administration. The purpose of individual inmate Commissary accounts is to allow the Bureau of Prisons to maintain inmates’ monies while they are incarcerated. Family, friends, or other sources may deposit funds into these accounts.
Funds may be sent to Federal inmates via the United States Postal Service or via the Western Union Quick Collect Program. In either case, the inmate must physically be housed at a Federal Bureau of Prisons’ facility before funds can be received and posted. If the inmate is not physically in a Federal Bureau of Prisons’ facility, the funds cannot be posted and will be returned or rejected.
The Inmate Financial Responsibility Program (IFRP) requires inmates to make payments from their earnings to satisfy court-ordered fines, victim restitution, child support, and other monetary judgments. They also look at the money in the commissary account. Some inmates are assessed a Cost of Incarceration Fee, which is collected under the IFRP. Inmates working in FPI who have financial obligations must pay 50 percent of their earnings to the IFRP. Most fine and restitution money goes to crime victims or victim support groups through the Crime Victims Fund administered by the Office for Victims of Crime in the Department of Justice.
U.S. Postal Service
Inmates’ families and friends choosing to send inmates funds through the mail must send those funds to the following address and in accordance with the directions provided below:
Federal Bureau of Prisons
Insert Valid Committed Inmate Name
Insert Inmate Eight Digit Register Number
Post Office Box 474701
Des Moines, Iowa 50947-0001
The deposit must be in the form of a money order made out to the inmate’s full committed name and complete eight digit register number. Effective December 1, 2007, all non-postal money orders and non-government checks processed through the National Lockbox will be placed on a 15 day hold. The Bureau of Prisons will return funds that do not have valid inmate information to the sender provided the envelope has an adequate return address. Personal checks and cash cannot be accepted for deposit.
The sender’s name and return address must appear on the upper left hand corner of the envelope to ensure that the funds can be returned to the sender in the event that they cannot be posted to the inmate’s account. The deposit envelope must not contain any items intended for delivery to the inmate. The Bureau of Prisons shall dispose of all items included with the funds.
In the event funds have been mailed, but have not been received in the inmate’s account and adequate time has passed for mail service to Des Moines, Iowa, the sender must initiate a tracer with the entity who sold them the money order to resolve any issues.
Western Union Quick Collect Program
Inmates’ families and friends may also send inmates funds through Western Union’s Quick Collect Program. All funds sent via Western Union’s Quick Collect will be posted to the inmate’s account within two to four hours, when those funds are sent between 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. EST (seven days per week, including holidays). Funds received after 9:00 pm EST will be posted by 7:00 am EST the following morning. Funds sent to an inmate through the Quick Collect Program may be sent via one of the following ways:
1) At an agent location with cash: The inmate’s family or friends must complete a Quick Collect Form. To find the nearest agent, they may call 1-800-325-6000 or go to www.westernunion.com.
2) By phone using a credit/debit card: The inmate’s family or friends may simply call 1-800-634-3422 and press option 2.
3) ONLINE using a credit/debit card: The inmate’s family and friends may go to www.westernunion.com.
For each Western Union Quick Collect transaction, the following information must be provided:
1) Valid Inmate Eight Digit Register Number (entered with no spaces or dashes and immediately followed by Inmate’s Last Name)
2) Committed Inmate Full Name entered on optional line
3) Code City: FBOP
4) State code: DC
Please note that the inmate’s committed name and eight digit register number must be entered correctly. If the sender does not provide the correct information, the transaction cannot be completed. The Code City is always FBOP and the State Code is always DC.
Each transaction is accepted or rejected at the point of sale. The sender has the sole responsibility of sending the funds to the correct inmate. If an incorrect register number and/or name are used and accepted and posted to that inmate, funds may not be returned.
Any questions or concerns regarding Western Union transfers should be directed to Western Union by the sender (general public). Questions or concerns should not be directed to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
For additional information concerning inmate Commissary account deposit procedures, please see the Bureau of Prisons Trust Fund/Warehouse/Laundry Manual (PS 4500.04) or 28 CFR Parts 506 and 540. For information concerning a specific deposit, please contact Federal Bureau of Prisons’ staff at 202-307-2712 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. ET.