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Salvation Army launches debt advice service to prisoners

by Sophie Drew
Salvation Army debt advice service.jpg - Banner image
The Salvation Army

In a first of its kind initiative, the Salvation Army has extended its debt advice service to include inmates and probationers on the Isle of Man.

Launching in partnership with the Island's prison and probation services, this new venture aims to provide support to prisoners and those on probation who are dealing with debt issues as they transition back into society.

The debt advice service was originally launched in September 2020 in response to the financial challenges posed by the Covid pandemic. It is now expanding to become the first debt advice service specifically designed to work with the prison and probation services. Already, 4% of inmates at the Isle of Man Prison have signed up for this scheme.

Debbie White, Area Debt Advice Co-ordinator for The Salvation Army on the Isle of Man emphasises that tackling debt is crucial for successful rehabilitation: "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."

The service will offer support for dealing with historical debts such as rent arrears, mobile phone or utility bill debts incurred while in prison, or credit card debts that have accumulated due to missed minimum payments.

The Salvation Army's debt advisors will work one-on-one with clients either in-person at the prison or over the phone to develop realistic plans for repaying their debts.

White continues: "Finance is one of the biggest factors that impact people’s lives and bad debt can be a cause of poor mental health... Jesus came to help everyone, and we firmly believe in providing that support and are proud to do so.”

The free service is accessible through referrals from probation officers or directly from the prison itself.

In addition to financial advice, emotional and spiritual support is available from The Salvation Army. All appointments are confidential, offering impartial advice regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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