Bellwood, PA (PRWEB) December 15, 2004
The creators of PrisonMail.org announced the launch of this Internet-based service for family and friends of prison inmates. PrisonMail.org is designed to allow friends and family to stay in touch more frequently and easily with their friend or relative in prison.
Bob Johnson, Project Leader for PrisonMail.org, explained that regular communication between inmates and their families is a key part of keeping inmates connected with the outside world. "Visits and phone calls are valued, but they are very restricted and expensive. Email is not allowed. Traditional mail is nice but letter writing is a lost art. PrisonMail.org provides a convenient, easy way to stay in touch during separation." Johnson added, ÂStudies show the tendency of inmates to relapse into criminal activity after their release is reduced when a direct, positive relationship is maintained with family members during their imprisonment.Â
PrisonMail.org is designed to help keep a consistent flow of communication from family and friends to the inmate through a secure, easy-to-use website. Personal messages are written to the inmate on the PrisonMail website, which are converted by PrisonMail to printed letters, and mailed to the inmate twice a week using the U.S. Postal Service.
Jason Garber, PrisonMail's lead programmer, developed the concept while attempting to create a way to communicate with a friend who was imprisoned. "Inmates often have time to write letters and send news to their friends and family on the outside; but keeping up with letter writing was a challenge for me, and is for a lot of us. I wanted to keep personal news and notes flowing to my friend in jail," Garber said.
Garber noted that sending brief notes of just a few sentences are more practical. "I felt I had to write a long letter every time I wrote; but with Prisonmail everyone using the mailbox can write a few sentences each day giving a snapshot of their activities. ItÂs not only easy, but a great way to stay in touch on a regular basis."
To use PrisonMail.org, a friend or family member "Sponsors" a "Mailbox" for a particular inmate for just $19.95 a month. The Sponsor may invite friends and family members to join the mailbox and send electronic messages to the inmate at no additional charge. Writers go to the PrisonMail.org website and compose their letter. Then, just like email, messages can be sent from anywhere, anytime. Twice a week, PrisonMail.org confidentially converts the messages accumulated in that mailbox into a physical, printed letter, which is mailed through the postal system to the inmate.
Johnson emphasized that any number of people may correspond with the inmate for one low monthly fee. "For about 65 cents a day Mom, Dad, Grandma, Aunt Suzie, the kids, anyone authorized to use the PrisonMail mailbox can write to the inmate. Family and friends have a convenient and reliable way to stay in touch with their loved one."
A PrisonMail Standard Mailbox has other features such as email notes sent out by the system reminding you to write or reminding you of an upcoming birthday. The ability to purchase gifts for prisoners online from secure, authorized vendors is being implemented and will be released soon.
Since anyone can sponsor a PrisonMail.org mailbox, churches, civic or social groups and prison outreach organizations can establish a mailbox for an inmate and invite the groupÂs members to send messages to the inmate.
Garber emphasized that PrisonMail was designed to be an additional, reliable and convenient way to stay in touch with the inmate. We donÂt want to replace other ways of communicating, but rather, to increase the opportunity for family and friends to stay in touch with the prisoner.Â
Johnson summarized, "Keeping stories, updates, and news flowing to an inmate is a great help in keeping the inmate from feeling disconnected from their loved ones. PrisonMail allows someone to sit at a computer anywhere, anytime and write a letter, copy and paste local news items or the kids' report card scores, or just type a quick note and have it sent directly to the friend or relative whoÂs in prison, wanting to hear from you."
For more information about PrisonMail visit their website at http://www.PrisonMail.org.
The team at IonZoft, Inc., a rapidly growing Internet development company located in the heart of Central Pennsylvania, created the PrisonMail.org system. IonZoft, Inc. offers a similar service for nursing home and assisted living residents at http://www.LetterWise.com.
P.O. Box 279
Bellwood, PA 16617
(814) 742-8655 Fax
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