Debt advice service launches on Isle of Man for prisoners
published on 21 Jul 2023
Debt advice service launches for prison inmates and probationers on the Island
A church and charity has, for the first time, extended its debt advice service to prison inmates and people within the probation service on the Isle of Man.
The Salvation Army has joined forces with the prison and probation services on the Island to support prisoners and people on probation with debt whilst they are in or as they leave prison and start to rebuild their life.
The debt advice service launched in September 2020 when the financial effects of the Covid pandemic were starting to be felt by many people. It is now expanding and offering what will be the first debt advice service of its kind, specifically working with the prison and the probation services. So far, 4% of inmates at the mixed Isle of Man Prison have already signed up to the scheme.
The service will support prisoners with historical debt, such as any rent arrears, mobile phone or utility bill debts that they have incurred whilst being in prison as well as any debts that have built up through minimum payments with any credit cards not being met.
The debt advice scheme offers one to one support with debt advisors either attending the prison for face-to-face meetings or appointments can take place over the telephone with a direct dial to The Salvation Army from the prison cell telephone that is available. During appointments The Salvation Army will work alongside clients to look at what they owe and make a realistic plan for repaying debts. The service can also contact creditors on a person’s behalf and explore and negotiate available options such as repayment holidays.
Debbie White, Area Debt Advice Co-ordinator for The Salvation Army on the Isle of Man said: “Finance is one of the biggest factors that impact people’s lives and bad debt can be a cause of poor mental health. With the cost-of-living crisis pushing more people to seek alternative means for funds such as loans, credit cards and borrowing from family and friends it can be very easy for people to quickly find themselves in financial difficulty.
“The people within the prison and probation service serve their time with the aim of building a new life but then find themselves with mounting debt and can quickly fall into old habits to pay back those debts. We also see that it is not just the prisoner that debt affects, it can also be the wider family too, both in practical terms but also the emotional weight that debt brings.
“The people using our debt advice support, through either the prison or people on probation, may have made poor choices in the past but are receiving help to rehabilitate back into the community and we’re here to give people that chance that they need to make that fresh start. Jesus came to help everyone, and we firmly believe in providing that support and are proud to do so.”
The Salvation Army also offers spiritual and emotional support to people affected through prisoner debt and anonymity is observed.
Prisoners and people on probation can use the free provision via referrals from their probation officer or through the prison itself and all appointments are confidential, offering impartial advice and authorised and regulated by the financial conduct authority. The Salvation Army’s debt advice service across the UK and Ireland supports people with debt ranging from a few thousand pounds to many tens of thousands of pounds.
For anyone seeking debt advice or anyone worried about bills that are in arrears or struggling to meet regular monthly payments, The Salvation Army can be contacted on (01624) 675702 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Salvation Army has a Just Giving page, dedicated specifically to its work on the Isle of Man which can be found at www.justgiving.com/tsa-community-support-000333 and whilst donations of all sizes are welcome, people are encouraged to donate only what they can afford.