Ameelio Letters
(Photo : Screenshot from Twitter of @SaferFoundation)

Ameelio Letters are offering free letter services to families who have members incarcerated in this time of need. This service is something for the inmates to look forward too since visitation is out of the question due to the current coronavirus pandemic. 

Ameelio Letters
(Photo : Screenshot from Twitter of @SaferFoundation)

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The Delivery Service No One Thought Of But Needs

In the United States, half of all Americans have had a family member go to jail or prison, according to a survey last 2018. 

The cost of making phone calls with inmates has exploded exponentially, leaving family members to carry the burden of the hefty fees to be able to communicate from inside the prison to the outside world. 

Phone calls are expensive enough as is, now even mail services can be as expensive during the current pandemic, especially for families who are not well off. 

Amidst the COVID-19 crisis happening in jail and prisons, one nonprofit tech company stepped up to help bridge the gap between communications between people behind bars and the people outside who worry about their safety.

Launched just a few weeks ago, Ameelio Letters can send paper letters as well as pictures to the inmates. Just over the past week, the novel coronavirus continues to create heavy air in jails and prisons all over the U.S. 

The company reported that it had delivered over 2,800 letters to inmates in over 563 facilities in about 47 states and 15 countries. 

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The Creation of Ameelio

Ameelio co-founder Uzoma Orchingwa told CNET, "Ameelio was inspired by my desire to provide immediate support to those impacted by incarceration...Our mission is to support meaningful connections between the incarcerated and their families, and relieve the financial burdens created by an exploitative prison telecommunications industry."

If you think letters seem too old fashioned, Orchingwa will tell you this, "written correspondence is the primary mode of communication between the incarcerated and their families...Still, snail mail isn't nearly as convenient as digital alternatives: it takes time and effort to write, stamp, mail, and track letters." 

Ameelio Letters is not currently available in Apple's App Store nor Google's Play Store; the mobile-friendly app can be downloaded directly from Ameelio. All you need to do to use the app is to register and input the incarcerated family member's information and immediately start writing. 

The length of the letter is limited to around 9,000 characters. That would be about 1,500 words, or three pages long. If you are planning on sending photos, it can be up to four inches by six inches.

The company is planning on extending its services from simple letters to actual phone service, which can be a bonus for all who use this app. 

Ochingwa said, "Our long-term vision has always been to approach prison reform through an ecosystem of free tools, but we decided to accelerate the launch of our Letters product in response to COVID-19,"

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