The Finnish Government’s central purchasing body Hansel Ltd. has, through a tendering procedure, selected Prepaid Financial Services (PFS) to manage its first prepaid card programme for the country’s Criminal Sanctions Agency (CSA), the organisation responsible for the Finnish prison system.
Launched in May 2016, the new programme makes prepaid cards available to inmates on arrival in both open and closed prisons across the country. Prison personnel will initially load available funds on to each inmate’s card and then subsequently IBAN payments can be made by family members and by the institutions themselves for salary payments. Each card is tied to a specific IBAN number and a specific prisoner, allowing the CSA to streamline funds disbursements to a prepaid account, which works in the same way as a basic bank account.
Eija-Riitta Nelin, Project Manager, CSA said: “Offering a cashless alternative is beneficial to both our prison service and to inmates as we will be able to disburse spend on the cards on a constant basis. This not only allows us to eliminate any issues with the safety of prisoners’ transactions but also allows us economies of scale by operating a more streamlined and efficient system across all of our prison network.”
Timo Malmberg, Category Manager, Hansel said: “Crucial to the success of this project is an extremely agile technology platform that provides the flexibility to take what is often a mainstream consumer product and adapt it for use within the prison system. We believe that PFS will deliver a highly bespoke and strategic solution.”
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Noel Moran, CEO, Prepaid Financial Services said: “Finland has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to its penal policies and although developing a prepaid card solution for a prison service was not without its challenges, if any government was going to successfully navigate these waters, it was Finland.
“Increasingly, more governments and local authorities both at home and abroad, are getting a better understand of the benefits of a cashless system. I believe we’re only just scratching the service of the ways and means this technology can be applied.”