The automated teller machine in the Orange County Detention Center lobby will no longer impose a direct fee on those making cash deposits on behalf of incarcerated individuals.
According to a press release, the fee’s elimination follows an agreement signed last month between the Orange County Sheriff’s Office and Oasis Commissary Services, the management consultant that operates the detention center’s ATM.
“It’s really important for families that do have the money to put in there that they are able to do that and not get assessed an excessive fee,” Caitlin Fenhagen, Orange County criminal justice resource director, said. “We’re really happy that that can happen, and I hope that it will ease the burden for some of the families and loved ones.”
Orange County Sheriff Charles Blackwood said the facility is cashless, meaning all detention officers are prohibited from taking any cash from someone outside and transferring it to someone inside.
“We used to do that some time ago, but it presents an opportunity for money to be mishandled,” Blackwood said. “We wanted to eliminate that possibility by going cashless with the kiosk.”
When an individual is booked into the detention center, they must use a kiosk inside the booking room to deposit any money they have on their person into an account, according to a press release. The inmate will receive the full value of their initial deposit, and that money can be used to purchase various items and services such as haircuts, snacks, hygiene products and Bibles, according to the press release.
However, if inmates have little to no money with them when they are being booked, family and friends will typically deposit money into the inmate’s account, according to the press release.
Alicia Stemper, director of public information and special services for the Orange County Sheriff's Office, said the ATM's transaction fee for cash deposits was $3.
Fenhagen said the conversation about the fee’s elimination arose after the county and the sheriff’s office realized the financial strain this fee can cause on depositing cash on an incarcerated individual’s behalf.