LAWTON — Comanche County Detention Center officials want to stop issuing inmates a check for the cash in their trust fund when they are released.
On Monday, the Comanche County Facilities Authority – consisting of the three Comanche County commissioners – approved a three-year agreement with Global Tel*Link Corp. to install and maintain an intake kiosk in the jail’s booking area. The service allows booking officers to deposit any money that inmates have on hand when they are arrested into a trust account on their behalf.
Under the old system, inmates received a check for the amount in their trust account when they were released, said Jail Administrator William Hobbs. But, he said, some inmates abused the system.
“Over the last few years, we’ve been hit with where people would get out and take our routing number and our account number off our check and create new checks and actually cash them,” Hobbs said. “Luckily, our bank catches those and reimburses us for it. So, we really haven’t lost any money, but it’s a burden for them and a burden for us.”
When the new system is up and running, booking officers will use the kiosk to deposit inmates’ money into a trust account for them. And when the inmates are released, the jail will use a different kiosk to issue them a debit card instead of a check.
Monday’s agreement was for the first part of a two-part system. The second part, which consists of the debit card-issuing kiosk, will arrive sometime next week.
The new system will eliminate the need to write checks in most cases, Hobbs said.
“We still have to write them a check if they go to DOC (the state Department of Corrections) or to another facility because a lot of these facilities don’t take our debit cards, or they have a different system,” he said. “For example, DOC has a debit card system, but it doesn’t match up with ours. So, we’d still have to write checks in some areas when it comes to dealing with inmates.”