Today’s technology has made sharing photos a click away. But for those who are incarcerated, receiving photos from the outside is a difficult process.
In 2010, Joseph Calderon’s mother was incarcerated at the Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla, California.
“It was one of the most challenging times of my life,” Calderon says.
His mother’s facility was eight hours from his home, which made visits difficult. The mother and son communicated by phone, but Calderon’s mother was limited to two fifteen-minute calls per week. And in prison, life stayed the same, while on the outside, Calderon’s life progressed.
“The things my mom yearned for were pictures,” Calderon says. Pictures of life outside prison walls. Of friends and family.
“I told her that I had purchased a new car, and she wanted to see it so badly,” Calderon recalls.
But with college and a full-time job, it was difficult for Calderon to go to the store to develop photos and then mail them on a regular basis.
One night after his mother’s release, the discussion at dinner turned to the challenges of maintaining relationships while incarcerated.
But what if there were a service that could do the hard work for you? What if there were a mobile application that could print and mail uploaded photos straight to prisoners?
That discussion was the start of Pelipost, the mobile app that allows users to upload and send photos to for their loved ones in prison.
Correctional facilities often have their own rules, regarding photos, that can be confusing for families and friends. Pelipost researches each prison and works with users to ensure that photos are delivered.
“Our users are people with lives, going through a challenging time,” Calderon says. “We truly recognize that.”
Calderon remembers visits to his mother’s correctional facility where four- and five-year-old children would be eager to see their mothers. It’s an image that has stuck with him.
“Prisoners are not the only people doing time,” Calderon says. “So are their children.”
While incarcerated, Calderon’s mother witnessed the impact Prison Fellowship®’s Angel Tree® program had on both her fellow prisoners and their children.
“I remember her calling me one afternoon and telling me about this program,” Calderon says. “How quickly the signup sheet filled up.”
“It’s only right to give back in this way,” Calderon says.
Like Angel Tree, Pelipost believes that helping prisoners maintain strong relationships with their families is beneficial, whether that’s through Christmas presents or photos.
“From the point of view of the incarcerated person,” Calderon explains, “receiving photos of their children, their family, and other life moments gives them an incentive and motivates them to look forward to a life on the outside.”
For Calderon’s mother, pictures were worth more than a thousand words. They were a lifeline.
“She looked forward to photos the most,” Calderon says. “She wanted to share in the joys of life.”
If you would like to send photos to your loved ones this holiday season, Calderon urges you to order as soon as possible. If users are unsure of their intended facility’s rules and regulations regarding photos, Pelipost encourages you to contact them, and they will be happy to help.
It’s not too late to help an Angel Tree child this Christmas! Please call 1-800-55-ANGEL to hear about possibilities and sign up.