§15A-4-9. Trustee accounts and funds, earnings and personal property of inmates and residents.

(a) The commissioner is authorized to establish at each institution under his or her jurisdiction a “Trustee Fund”. The superintendent of each institution shall receive and take charge of the money and personal property, as defined by policy, of all inmates or residents in his or her institution and all money or personal property, as defined by policy, sent to the inmates or residents or earned by the inmates as compensation for work performed while they are domiciled there. The superintendent shall credit the money and earnings to the inmate or resident entitled to it and shall keep an accurate account of all the money and personal property so received, which account is subject to examination by the commissioner. The superintendent shall deposit the moneys in one or more responsible banks in accounts to be designated “Trustee Fund”.

(b) For all felony sentenced inmates, except those serving life without mercy and those the superintendent determines are likely to serve the remainder of their natural lives in the custody of the division due to their age and the length of their sentences, the superintendent shall keep in an account at least 10 percent of all money earned during the inmate’s or resident’s incarceration and pay the money to the inmate or resident at the time of the inmate’s or resident’s release. The superintendent may authorize the inmate to withdraw money from his or her mandatory savings for the purpose of preparing the inmate for reentry into society.

(c) The commissioner may direct that offenders who work in community work programs, including work release inmates who have obtained employment, make reimbursement to the state toward the cost of his or her incarceration.

(d)(1) Prior to ordering an incarcerated offender to make reimbursement toward the costs of his or her incarceration, the commissioner, or his or her designee, shall consider the following:

(A) The offender’s ability to pay;

(B) The nature and extent of the offender’s responsibilities to his or her dependents, if any;

(C) The length of probable incarceration under the court’s sentence; and

(D) The effect, if any, that reimbursement might have on the offender’s rehabilitation.

(2) No order of reimbursement entered pursuant to this section may exceed $500 per month unless the offender gives his or her express consent; and

(3) The commissioner shall, prior to the beginning of each fiscal year, prepare a report that details the average cost per inmate incurred by the division for the care and supervision of those individuals in his or her custody.

(e) The superintendent of any facility, on request of an inmate or resident, may expend up to one half of the money earned by the inmate or resident on behalf of the family of the inmate or resident if the 10 percent mandatory savings has first been set aside and other fees or court ordered obligations owed by the inmate or resident have been paid. The remainder of the money earned, after deducting amounts expended as authorized, shall be accumulated to the credit of the inmate or resident and be paid to the inmate or resident at times as may be prescribed by rules. The funds so accumulated on behalf of inmates or residents shall be held by the superintendent of each institution under a bond approved by the Attorney General.

(f) The superintendent shall deliver to the inmate or resident at the time he or she leaves the institution, or as soon as practicable after departure, all personal property, moneys, and earnings then credited to the inmate or resident, or in case of the death of the inmate or resident before authorized release from the institution, the superintendent shall deliver the property to the inmate’s or resident’s personal representative. In case a conservator is appointed for the inmate or resident while he or she is domiciled at the institution, the superintendent shall deliver to the conservator, upon proper demand, all moneys and personal property belonging to the inmate or resident that are in the custody of the superintendent.

(g) If any money is credited to a former inmate or resident after remittance of the sum of money as provided in §15A-4-9(f) of this code, the commissioner shall notify the former inmate or resident within 30 days of receipt of the money. The former inmate or resident will be afforded the opportunity to collect the money if he or she pays the cost of the transaction. If the former inmate or resident does not claim the money within 30 days of receiving the notice and the sum of money is less than $10, the commissioner may place the money into the inmate benefit fund.

(h) The provisions of this section apply to both juveniles and adults within the custody of the commissioner.