At present, there are millions of people behind bars all over the world. Indeed, some of these people do deserve to be there. However, this is not the case for every person who has ever gone to jail. Unfortunately, there are cases in which people are wrongfully convicted and end up in prison despite being innocent.
Soon they experience what it is like to be away from their families and to lose their freedom. But, this could soon be staying in the past. As a matter of fact, some prisoners are now able to receive photos and texts from their loved ones thanks to Instagram like sites that they can use.
Of course, this all sounds just not right for most people. But, believe it or not even wardens are okay with that. Here’s what you need to know.
Is there such thing as Instagram for Prisons?
No, Instagram is not for people in jail. There’s no such thing as Instagram for prisons. However, there are Instagram like sites that prisoners can use.
But, isn’t this somewhat dangerous? The idea of keeping prisoners from communicating with the outside world is for them not to continue committing crimes while in jail. So, how is it possible that they can have access to social media now? Moreover, how is it possible that wardens are okay with that?
Well, believe it or not, allowing inmates to message their loved ones from Instagram like sites is a win-win for everybody. But, we’ll explain that at the very end. For now, let’s take a look at the apps that are making this possible.
First, let’s talk about Pigeonly. Pigeonly is a website that was created in 2013 by former convict Frederick Hutson. Being locked in prison for five years for drug trafficking made Mr. Hutson experience by himself the difficulty of trying to stay in touch with his loved ones.
Furthermore, he learned that calls inside the prison were quite expensive. So, bearing this in mind, he decided to do something about this issue the moment he was released.
Soon he funded Pigeonly and created a whole system that would allow inmates to connect with their families, and of course, that would bring him some money in the process.
Pigeonly customers have to pay a monthly fee that ranges from $7.99 to $19.99. In exchange, they can send unlimited photos and messages to those members of their family who are incarcerated.
The second site on the list is called InmateAid. This platform allows inmates’ families to send them money, post cards, magazine subscriptions, photos and more.
But, perhaps the most appealing feature of this website is that it lets you make phone calls for a cheap price. The site was created by former convict Scott Levine who struggled to communicate with his family while in prison.
So, after he was released, he decided to create InmateAid to help all those people who could not afford the price for making monthly calls to their family in jail. At present, InmateAid helps thousands of people to save hundreds of dollars a month.
Finally, let’s talk about Flikshop. Flikshop was funded by Marcus Bullock. A former inmate who was sentenced to 8 years in prison after being found guilty on the charges of carjacking.
He served his time and went back home, where along with some family members launched the site Flikshop. A platform that allows people to send postcards bearing a photo of their loved ones in jail.
Incredibly, this site (also referred to as the Instagram for Prisons) was later funded by American singer John Legend.
The Reason Behind These Sites
There’s one thing all three sites have in common. They all were created by ex-cons to allow fellow inmates to easily communicate with their families.
The overall idea was to remind prisoners that there are people waiting for them outside. In a nutshell, the sites developers wanted to create platforms that would help inmates regain hope.
Basically, to let them know they could be with their loved ones again. So, in a few words, these websites are thought to help prisoners have a reason to live and turn into good citizens upon their release.
Otherwise, they could feel they have no one in their lives and go back to the world of crime.
For obvious reasons, these sites can’t be accessed from a phone. Instead, inmates have to enter prison monitored computers and log into their accounts to talk to their family.
But, it’s not all happiness. As a matter of fact, prisoners have to wait for hours to be able to use these computers. And, of course, they have to pay. So here’s how the system works.
State-run prisons now have what is called Jpay. Jpay is a system that offers inmates to talk to their families through the sites listed in this article. They can send messages that cost from 15 cents to 47 cents apiece and even receive photos and videos.
Evidently, all conversations are monitored to avoid inmates talking about sexual topics, drugs and similar things. A small price to pay in order to feel the warmth of knowing there are people waiting for them on the outside.
These sites have become quite popular among prisoners’ families. So much so that one of them is often referred to as the Instagram for prisons. Indeed, the features of these website lead some people to use such term.
Still, the ideal scenario would be the keep the photo-sharing app out of the picture. Evidently, this is something we know Instagram wouldn’t be happy about. But, let’s face it. The term is being used just as a reference.
As a matter of fact, the popularity of the site has led users to even compare it with other social media platforms. Instagram’s direct competitor Snapchat is also on the list.
Why Are Wardens Okay With These Sites?
Finally, how is it that wardens are okay with these sites? Well, it’s very simple actually. They no longer have to worry about family members trying to smuggle contraband into the prison.
Here’s the thing, for some time prisoners’ families would send photos, letters and more. Unfortunately, many times these things would have hidden contraband. For example, greeting cards were often laced with dangerous synthetic drugs.
So, allowing inmates to exchange messages with their families through a monitored computer changed things for good. In fact, thanks to these sites the war agains contraband is almost in the past.
So, after analysing the system in which inmates can communicate with their families, we’ve come to a conclusion. These sites are indeed very helpful. Of course, we understand there are people out there who simply disagree with the fact of letting prisoners use a computer.
But, the truth is, there is no downside to this method. Inmates work to use the monitored computers, the war against contraband is no longer a major problem, and last but not least prisoners have a reason to go straight after they are released.
Anyway, that’s just our thoughts – what are yours?