Unlocking banking: impact report: developing effective, efficient & secure access to banking for people in prison before release

Document type
Corporate author(s)
Unlock (Organisation)
Date of publication
2 July 2014
Resettlement, Offenders, Criminal Justice Services, Poverty Alleviation Welfare Benefits and Financial Inclusion
Social welfare
Material type

Download (680KB )

Providing access to banking for people in prison before release is one of the foundations of successful resettlement and provides a positive contribution towards reducing re-offending. For the majority of people in prison, the aspiration of opening a basic bank account before release was, before this project began in 2005, unachievable. In many cases, prisons were unable to engage with local branches of banks, leading to frustration and wasted resources on both sides.

This report is designed to summarise and reflect on the progress that has been made to date, as well as outline some of the key priority areas moving forward. The main focus of the report is on the latter part of the project, which was the national campaign which ran from 2010 to 2014. At the end of the 9-year project:

  1. Unlock has helped to set up 74 prison/banking programmes
  2. 114 prisons now have links with a high-street bank
  3. The ‘big 5’ current account providers (Barclays, Halifax (part of Lloyds Banking Group), HSBC, Santander and RBS) are all actively involved, as well as a significant contribution from Co-operative.
  4. By the end of 2013, all prisons that wanted and needed a basic bank account opening programme had one

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