Following a felony conviction, the sentence begins. It is a most stressful time for felons and their families. So much happens, so much changes at that point.
Most who are convicted are not prepared for incarceration and all of the changes that occur. For those felons who were working, their job ends.
So their income for themselves and their families also typically stops. For some who have a spouse or significant other, a single income may continue. For many, that isn’t the case, and all income is lost.
For those who enter prison with financial responsibilities and the accompanying bills, what happens to their bills while they are in prison?
This blog post will look at the question of what happens to their bills when they go to jail.
- Felons’ Debts
- Felons with Assets
- Having a Plan
- Being Honest with Their Bills
- Supporting a Felon in Handling Their Bills While Incarcerated
Most felons going to prison had no real assets. The bills they had were mainly debts accumulated during the time when they were deep into their criminal lifestyle. Those might have included old gambling debts, loans from families or friends, or other financial obligations of a less than an honest source.
Most of these were the type that wouldn’t be reported to the credit bureau or show up on a credit report.
These are the ones felons would just as soon forget about, and typically do, when they go to prison. Following a lengthy prison sentence, these debts may be forgotten about, depending on the relationship felons have with those individuals.
While this example is common among felons, not all are in this type of situation.
Felons with Assets
Not all who go to prison are unemployed and broke. Some have jobs, assets, mortgages, bills, and credit card debt.
For those, the impact is greater than for felons who do are not in the same financial position. They may have some legitimate financial obligations. What do they do about them when they go to prison?
Those felons who care what happens to their bills when they go to prison usually don’t know what to do or what options are available to them.
For those, it takes having a plan before they enter prison. There are sources they can rely on for the assistance they need to be prepared.
The following are some tips for dealing with finances before going to prison:
- It is important, since felons will be serving a typically long sentence to have someone they trust completely take over financial management while they are away. Loans, car payments, and credit card debt can mount up during incarceration, creating even greater debt. Making those payments or working out reduced payments can make a huge difference in felons’ financial status following release.
- Establish a joint bank account before incarceration. This will greatly simplify things. Since 9/11 increased terrorist concerns, banking regulations require appearing in person with proper identification to open an account. They may not be able to do so from prison.
- Let creditors know about that difficulty in making payments for a time period. They may be able to establish a reduced payment schedule or accept reduced interest during this time.
- If bankruptcy is a possibility, it is difficult to file for bankruptcy while incarcerated. Finding an attorney to represent them can be challenging, making filing for bankruptcy even more difficult.
- Bankruptcy won’t eliminate certain types of debt. Child support payments, federal student loans, and court costs or restitution will remain on felons’ records even after bankruptcy.
- Ignoring debts while serving a sentence is not a good idea. Creditors can still ask for payment while the debt will show up on a credit report for seven years. Old debts are often sold, so an unpaid loan can show up years later on a credit report.
Having a Plan
Having a plan for managing bills and finances while locked up is important. Without this, debts can continue to accumulate and a shaky financial picture can become even worse.
If bankruptcy wasn’t a part of the picture before, growing debt can certainly change this. Felons released from prison are unlikely to earn the same type of income they did prior to the conviction.
While locked up, felons may be at risk for identity theft and fraud, often from family and friends.
Establishing a plan can do several things, especially protect the credit rating of felons. This is essential as life after prison is difficult enough in finding a job and re-establishing connections with families and friends.
Maintaining a good credit rating is more important than some felons may realize. Once they are released, having a strong financial base will do a lot to help in felons getting back on their feet again.
This can be accomplished with the assistance of credit companies set up for this purpose.
Having someone they can trust manage their finances, even if those are limited, can have a significant impact while felons are incarcerated.
What this would do is to maintain felons’ credit rating until they are released. So whatever bills felons have would be taken care of, and felons will be in a much better position to resume their lives after prison.
There are resources for helping get rid of debt.
Being Honest with Their Bills
Felons must remember that it is essential that they are honest about their criminal record when applying for a loan or credit card after being released.
If not, they can easily put themselves in the position of being denied that loan or credit card and for being charged with fraud for lying on their application.
This can carry a penalty of up to 30 years in prison, made worse by already having a previous felony conviction.
So, they should give themselves the best chance from the start.
Persistence will pay off. Just stick to it and keep trying.
Supporting a Felon in Handling Their Bills While Incarcerated
For families of felons wanting to deal with their bills wisely while locked up, stand by them. All of you have been through extremely difficult times already. Don’t let your loved one give up.
Be square with them and let them know the importance of being responsible for their bills while in prison. After all, not being honest or responsible put them in the situation they are in now.
Remind them of how proud they will be to live an honest life and manage their finances. That will provide them the opportunity to establish more responsibility again.
After all, that new life with honesty and financial responsibility in providing for their family are important.
So what do you think about this blog post about what happens to their bills while they are in jail? Have you or someone you know been in that situation? What was that experience like, and how were they successful? Please tell us in the comments below.