HaMoked petitions under the Freedom of Information Act, requesting to compel the postal bank and the prison service to answer its inquiries, sent over nine months ago, regarding their management of security prisoners' deposit accounts in the bank המוקד להגנת הפרט
10.12.2010
HaMoked petitions under the Freedom of Information Act, requesting to compel the postal bank and the prison service to answer its inquiries, sent over nine months ago, regarding their management of security prisoners' deposit accounts in the bank
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In February and March 2010, HaMoked requested information from the Israel Prison Service (IPS) and the Israel Postal Bank, regarding security prisoners' cash accounts which are managed by the Postal Bank and used for various purchases in prison canteens. Upon admittance to the system, each prisoner receives the number of a bank account for his personal use, free to withdraw the funds that his family deposits to account.

In 2009, through its work on prison condition, HaMoked learnt of a disturbing phenomenon – a prisoner's family who tried to make a deposit to the prisoner's postal bank account was told the account had been "closed", no further deposits were possible. HaMoked's investigation showed this to be a common occurrence even prior to 2009.   

HaMoked's inquiries with the IPS revealed that contrary to regulations, the Postal Bank limits deposits, depending on who makes the deposit, rather than who holds the account. Bank tellers refuse service on the pretext that said person has already "deposited funds in excess of the monthly limit". However, even with the intended deposit, the balance would have remained below the monthly expenditure allowed under the IPS Ordinance. The flawed management of the prisoners' accounts affects their wellbeing, as they cannot purchase basic necessities, such as coffee, cigarettes, soap, toothpaste and shampoo.

HaMoked appealed to the relevant authorities, to reveal the rules governing the management of accounts, for over nine months did not receive a single pertinent reply. The prisoners' families and friends face repeated difficulties in making such deposits, while the Postal Bank and the IPS each deny their own responsibility for the accounts, pointing to the other.

In February and March 2010, HaMoked petitioned under the Freedom of Information Act, to obtain the long-sought information, its inquiries unheeded for over nine months. As the authorities continued to betray their obligation to respond within the stipulated period, HaMoked's had no recourse but to petition the Court for Administrative affairs.
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