Financial Thoughts

Financial Education in Prison: A Second Chance for Inmates

Prison Fence Opened in the Direction of the Sea

Prison authorities are into promoting financial education of prisoners. They don’t want that person returning to jail because they do not have the social skills to be able to manage their lives outside of the prison walls.

Most people have watched, or are aware of the movie The Shawshank Redemption.

It’s one of the classic films of all times and shows what a person with a tremendous financial background can achieve while in prison.

This article is not about being in prison and already having a business qualification. It is rather a good indication of how helpful it can be learning about finances and having basic knowledge about money before you are released.

All the Support from the Government

Governments are not into promoting recidivism. Quite the opposite. A person commits a crime, spends time in jail, then on release, they should be able to integrate back into society. That’s the way purists look at it, but the reality is a long way from that dream.

In the case of financial knowledge, prison authorities provide some courses that prisoners can take and become far more knowledgeable about how finances work throughout their daily lives.

Challenges of the Inmates

Most prisoners in jail lack formal education and are unaware of the basics of daily finances. They seem to get caught up in the vicious debt cycle of payday loans. That is, of course, if they can find a job with a prison record.

What do Prisoners Need to Learn about Finances

Learning about simple banking – earn money, put it into an account, use an ATM card to withdraw and operate your account online – is an essential requirement.

The smart use of debit and credit cards and the penalties of late payments or paying the minimum on their credit card debt.

Avoiding debt, bankruptcy, and having a sensible budget in place to track spendings.

All this learning with training courses is now made available in american prisons.


It might sound funny, but providing this information to a ‘captive’ audience takes on a whole new meaning. There has been positive feedback from inmates about having this type of financial literacy for them provided while they are in jail.

Mind you, not everybody looks at prison education favorably, but for those wanting to make some significant changes in their lives, financial knowledge can provide ultimate freedom once they are released back into society.

Not everybody in jail is a hardened criminal, and the majority are keen enough to learn new skills and increase their knowledge so that they can re-enter society with some definite goals. There is a mixture of prisoners from all walks of life, but regardless of what their origins are, what crime they committed, whether they have property or assets, or whether they are in their early 20’s and want to start a new life with some financial knowledge, the correct handling of money and finances plays an important, integral role in their life.

Finance Tips for Inmates

Some great finance tips to consider when you are waiting to be released from prison are:

  • Build a Credit History – Open a pre-paid bank account that you have to pay up front. This will show stability and good money habits. Just ask for a secured credit card with a limit of about $500 – $1000 and pay back the money owed on time every month. This establishes a good payment history.
  • Check your Credit Records – if you have been in jail for a time, who knows what has been happening to your credit records. Check them thoroughly to make sure that all the entries are accurate.
  • Stay Positive – as hard as that might seem after spending time in prison, you have the opportunity to start a new life. The money will play a big part in your ability to survive in this world without resorting to crime again when things get tough.
  • Start Searching for a Job While in Prison – If you can land a reasonable job, then take that as being an excellent start to utilizing all the things you learned in prison about finances. Payday Loans, personal loans, mortgages, secured and unsecured loans.

Before you were in prison, you knew nothing about these things. Being aware will make you financially smarter and help you to survive. Nothing is stopping a prisoner from becoming a successful business person. According to studies carried out, a person with a criminal record has only half as much of a chance of finding a job, and they are usually paid 40% less than those without a prison record.

Inspiring Examples of Successful Ex-Prisoners

  • Piper Kerman was convicted of money laundering for a heroin ring. After release from prison she created the hit Netflix series, Orange is the new Black.
  • Frederick Hutson served time for trafficking marijuana. After prison, he started a website called Pigeonly which helped people excellent incarcerated members of their family. The app allows families to send prisoners printed photos from a cell phone.
  • Cedrick Hornbuckle served 8 years for drugs then went through a Texas-based entrepreneurship program. He started his own moving company called Moved by Love.

The statistics for criminals being imprisoned again after release is 66%. With some education on finances and an understanding of money, this can be changed. What offence usually lands people in jail? Money. Learn how to manage it.

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