Hansel, the Finnish government’s central purchasing body, has selected Prepaid Financial Services (PFS) to manage its first prepaid card programme for the country’s Criminal Sanctions Agency (CSA), the organization responsible for the Finnish prison system.

The new programme, started in May 2016, makes prepaid cards available to inmates on arrival in both open and closed prisons across the country.

In the beginning, the prison personnel will 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 linked to a specific IBAN number and a specific prisoner, which enables the CSA to rationalize funds disbursements to a prepaid account, which acts in the same way as a basic bank account.

CSA project manager Eija-Riitta Nelin 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.

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"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."

Prepaid Financial Services CEO Noel Moran 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."