Using Technology to Connect Families to Loved Ones in Prison
Date:  04-28-2017

From a smart phone or computer comes a postcard and personal message to brighten up the day of a person behind bars
From: The Coalition for Public Safety:

Imagine being released from prison after serving a fifteen-year sentence. You’re handed a bus ticket and left to make your way. How do you find housing? How do you find a job? How do you navigate roads or entire cities that have changed?

In our hyper-mobile world, the answer may seem simple: the Internet has the answer to all these questions, and to thousands of others you would have never even thought to ask. But if you have been in prison for more than a decade, you have been suspended from the ever-increasing evolution of technology. You have no idea what Indeed or Monster or SimplyHired is. GoogleMaps, Instagram, and Facebook are foreign concepts.

Just over a month ago, The Coalition for Public Safety participated in an exciting day-long discussion at SXSW about the intersection of tech and criminal justice reform. Among the many topics discussed was the challenges people face when leaving prison to reenter a technologically saturated world. Although prisons restrict internet access to maintain secure facilities, the unintended consequence is often to leave people struggling to make sense of the internet age. For those who are still behind bars, connecting with family members who increasingly rely on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram becomes a difficult undertaking.

That’s where Marcus Bullock comes into the picture-quite literally. Marcus is the CEO of Flikshop, a company that bridges the technological divide to connect incarcerated people with their loved ones. The Flikshop app lets users create photo postcards, complete with a short message and image of their choice, directly from a computer or smartphone. The Flikshop team then prints and sends the postcard to jails and prisons across the country; a deceptively simple “hack” that makes connecting with loved ones behind bars as effortless as posting a photo on instagram. Continue reading >>