Many in U.S. prisons have no choice but to pay shockingly high prices to call a loved one. Ameelio’s first-of-its-kind, free video-call and messaging app is gaining momentum as an alternative: Iowa, Colorado, and Maine expanded or began using it in 2022, and others are in the tech nonprofit’s pipeline for 2023. State prison systems are embracing change because they understand that greater connectivity helps lower recidivism rates, says CEO Uzoma Orchingwa. A 2020 study of Minnesota prisons found that receiving at least one video visit can reduce the likelihood of reconviction by 22%. As states debate making prison calls free and the FCC moves to regulate the industry, Ameelio’s mission may have found its moment.
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