It’s hard to understand what life is like for the incarcerated. That’s why we want to bring our PeliPALS stories to light and share their experiences with incarceration. Today, we bring you the story of William Davenport.
If you’d like your incarcerated loved one’s story featured, have them mail it to Pelipost.
Written By: William Davenport
Most people are incapable of relating to the loneliness being incarcerated can bring. My family will never fully understand how letters, photos, phone calls, and visits / video visits help me cope with all the negativity that surrounds me.
Although I put emphasis on my loved ones sending photos, no one gave my request any serious consideration. Fortunately, I found a Pelipost ad, created a prepaid account, and informed my family of an easy way to send pictures. Thanks to Pelipost, I now receive photos regularly!
Photos help me get through the day-to-day struggle of missing my family. Although it’s always great to hear a familiar voice, as an aspiring photographer it’s the photos from my family that I look forward to the most. To sum it all up, my family and potential friends are always welcome to send photos to keep my spirits up during these most difficult times!
It’s almost time to celebrate our 5th Annual Love Your Inmate Day! Each year on August 8th, we dedicate this day to our incarcerated loved ones to remind them that they are loved, supported, and valued. Keep reading to learn more about this special day and how you can participate this year.
8/8 Love Your Inmate Day
This day was created to not only support our incarcerated loved ones but to shatter the stigma. Everyone makes mistakes, and it’s ok to talk about it. In fact, it’s good to talk about it because we’re all people, and we all deserve to feel loved and supported.
“With everyday life on the outside racing by, we wanted to create a special day that reminds us to take pause and focus on our incarcerated loved ones, and what we can do to give them a little extra attention. We hope in turn this gives them the added peace of mind that their family and friends are thinking about them, and are here to support them through these difficult times” says Becky Calderon, Chief Operating Officer of Pelipost.
The intentions of Love Your Inmate Day (LYID) are not only to show your incarcerated loved one that you care, but also to get in touch with other friends and families affected by incarceration. The significance of this day is to show that no one is alone in this journey, whether behind bars or on the outside.
How to Participate
The Love Your Inmate Day website lists multiple ways to get involved in this year’s celebration. These include:
‘Love Never Gives Up’ Merchandise
Show support for your incarcerated loved ones by grabbing the latest products from our EXCLUSIVE Love Your Inmate Day Collection. Part of the proceeds are used to help children with incarcerated parents through Pelipost’s Student of the Month Program and Pelipost’s Overcoming Adversity Scholarship. You can purchase all ‘Love Never Gives Up’ Merchandise here.
Get your picture on our Dedication Wall! Get your “LOVE NEVER GIVES UP” bracelet, snap a photo, and email it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the 2022 Dedication Wall.
Love Your Inmate Day Giveaway
Finding ways to bring lightness and joy into a difficult experience is key to making it through the experience. Participate in the Love your inmate day giveaway for a chance to win all kinds of fun prizes, including a Visa gift card, a Pelipost t-shirt, a Love your inmate day bundle, and plenty of PeliPOINTS that you can redeem for free pictures on the Pelipost app. Learn how to enter here.
8 Days of Dedications
Create a dedication to your incarcerated loved one on the LYID Facebook page. All you have to do is send us a photo and a message about your loved one. We will be sharing the dedications on our Facebook wall all day from August 1st-8th, 2021.
Don’t forget to send your incarcerated loved ones photos in honor of Love Your Inmate Day! You can download the Pelipost app through the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.
I cannot begin to express my gratitude and am beyond thankful for your service. I’m a single mom and my children are young. I was able to set up my PeliPALS account and it was a breeze. My daughters uploaded their pictures and it’d be here in a matter of days. The fact that my daughter didn’t have to “bother” our family to get a ride and pay for printed pictures. It was a relief on both our ends. She enjoyed it because she was able to add captions. Helping me meet new members of family I’ve missed. Yet making me feel a part of with a simple picture. So thank you so much for that.
I treasure those pictures dearly and close to my heart. I’ve put them on my bunk so I wake up to see them, the sights of nature that bring me peace. Reminding me, I’m closer to that freedom and my babies. I go to bed and look up at all the pictures and know that I’ll wake up to see those smiles of the ones I love most and who love me as well. Hearing from my children via calls, emails, video visit, and pictures help me and make me so happy. The fact it’s so simple for them to upload and send pictures make it all worth it. Especially when my mom struggles with English and apps. Again, thank you so much!
My daughters enjoy but no more than I when I hear my name and see Pelipost knowing I’m receiving pictures. This helps relieve a burden from my busy family raising my children. Something so small can contribute but be a part of the family still. Thank you so much! I highly recommend your service. We will continue to use your service once I’m released because my fiancé will be happy to receive weekly and monthly pictures. Thank you so much! I’d rate you 5 stars online but til then this will do.
As people, we send gifts to loved ones for birthdays, holidays, or just to show that we care. However, due to the rules and regulations of what inmates are allowed to receive in the mail, gift-giving is not the same. But did you know you can buy gifts for your incarcerated loved ones through approved catalogs? These catalogs can include anything from food, clothing, and other items that are approved to send to your incarcerated loved one. Many of these care packages can be ordered online and shipped to your incarcerated loved one’s facility. We have listed a few care package resources below. Just as a reminder, always check your loved one’s specific facility for their rules and regulations.
Access Securepak allows family members and friends to send packages to inmates. This company was developed to eliminate contraband and greatly reduce the time and labor required to process packages. You can create an account and purchase a care package from them here: https://www.accesscatalog.com/index.html?PageID=8
Union Supply Group:
Union Supply Group offers inmate and family package programs for either state-wide agencies or individual facilities. Union Supply Group uses the entire range of products offered by Union Supply Company and Food Express USA to create completely customized programs. To purchase, visit: https://www.unionsupply.com/sp_union_supply_direct.aspx
Jack L. Marcus Company:
The Jack L. Marcus Company offers care packages to send to incarcerated individuals in select states. These states include California, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vermont, Wisconsin, and West Virginia. To send a gift from their catalog, go to: https://jlmarcuscatalog.com
iCare offers snack packages that friends and family can send to their incarcerated loved ones to show them how much they care. From salty to sweet, they have the perfect package to send your loved one a treat. Send your loved one a snack pack here: https://shop.icaregifts.com/shop
Inmate Care Packages:
Inmate Care Packages offers a wide range of options to send to your incarcerated loved one. The categories for their bundles include Food, Clothing & Apparel, Personal Care, Books/Magazines, Electronics & Accessories, and even inmate phone plans. You can find their care packages here: https://www.inmate-packages.com
Through Pelipost, you can send photos to your incarcerated loved one. Photos are a tangible token of your love that your loved one can physically hold and cherish. Photos mean so much to incarcerated individuals, and help you to keep in contact with them.
I am Bobby Bostic and I was sentenced to die in prison at 16 years old. In 1995, an older man and I committed the robbery of two people who were in a crowd of five people, and committed another robbery of a single individual thirty minutes later a few blocks away. No one was seriously injured in these crimes. The judge at my sentencing hearing pronounced:
“Bobby Bostic, you will die in the Department of Corrections. You do not go to see the parole board until 2201, and nobody in this courtroom will be alive in the year 2201.”
I have been in prison since 1994 (over 25 years now) and I have rehabilitated myself. I have completed several college courses from Missouri State University. I obtained my Associate of Science degree from Adams State University in the spring of 2020, and now I am only 30 credits from obtaining my Bachelor’s degree in Social Work. I have completed over thirty prison rehabilitation classes and programs. In addition to this, I have written five non-fiction books and eight poetry books. I also have the blueprints for several nonprofit organizations for troubled teens, and a charity that I will establish soon. Furthermore, I have many more goals that I am currently pursuing.
I want to thank each and everyone of you for hearing my story and trying to help me. I am also doing what I can to help others. It is a struggle but we are claiming victory. If we keep saying “struggle” it will remain just that, but words can have power.
Becky, you have lived it so you know this struggle, but you saw victory. Each photo that Pelipost sends to an inmate is a victory. Pictures mean so much to us in prison. So to the Pelipost team: all inmates in America thank you for giving us victory by each picture that you send us. Those pictures are a light in a dark prison. Each picture brings us hope, each picture makes us stronger, each picture lets us know what we are missing in the world and with our loved ones. Each picture offers us power against oppression, each picture that Pelipost sends to us prisoners gives us victory.
The period of incarceration can be a scary, confusing, and lonely time for your loved one. Removing a person from society and stripping them of their normal lives and responsibilities can greatly alter an incarcerated person’s outlook on life, and can even affect their brain chemistry. In fact, 37% of people in state and federal prisons have been diagnosed with a mental illness, along with many others who simply struggle with keeping a positive mindset. To help your incarcerated loved one make it through this difficult period with high spirits, you can send along our tips for how to stay positive in jail.
Focus on Yourself
While incarcerated, it can be difficult not to succumb to distractions, like the actions and opinions of others. Remind your incarcerated loved one that they should not worry about others and to focus on themselves. Goal setting, staying focused, and working on personal growth will help your incarcerated loved one keep their head up and not succumb to the negativity of others.
An excellent way for your incarcerated loved one to work on themselves and keep a positive mindset is to further their education. Although it varies from facility to facility, many jails connect with local schools to offer a variety of academic courses, life skills education, and career and technology education for incarcerated individuals. Your incarcerated loved one can participate depending on their academic skills, disciplinary record, level of custody, length of sentence, and program availability at their specific facility. Furthering their education will give your incarcerated loved one goals to accomplish, a sense that they are making good use of their time, and wider opportunities upon their release.
Work on Your Physical Health
Another way for your incarcerated loved one to make use of their time and keep a positive attitude is by working on their physical fitness. Although it varies, many facilities offer fitness centers, classes, and/or equipment for their inmates to use. Working on their physical fitness can help an incarcerated individual boost their self-confidence, improve their mental health, and improve their physical health. This will not only help their mindset, but reduce the risk of injury or disease while incarcerated as well.
Work Towards a Goal
Goal-setting gives a person a sense of purpose, direction, and motivation. Although the goals may be different than on the outside, it is important for incarcerated individuals to have something to work towards. These can be goals related to education or physical fitness like mentioned before. However, they can also be goals along the lines of improving artistic ability, writing, keeping good behavior, or working towards having a more positive mindset. Whether big or small, encourage your incarcerated loved one to set specific goals for them to work towards during their time on the inside.
Stay in Contact with Your Loved Ones
One of the most beneficial ways to keep a positive outlook while incarcerated is to keep in contact with your loved ones on the outside. For the members on the outside, using services like Pelipost to send photos to your incarcerated loved ones can make a huge impact on their mindset. This will help them feel loved, supported, and connected to you during your time spent apart. Phone calls, in-person visits, and letters are also great ways to stay connected during this time.
For our incarcerated loved ones, tangible items are cherished and appreciated because it gives them a physical reminder that they are loved. In addition to written letters, there are a variety of creative things you can mail to your loved one to give them a reminder of home. Receiving mail is something special regardless of someone’s love language, especially for those who may be struggling due to the separation from their friends and family.
Keep in mind that every facility has their own rules and regulations, so make sure you review the specific facility’s mail policies before sending. Here are some of our favorite mail ideas that include creative items to remind your friend or family member of your love and appreciation.
Children’s Drawings and Artwork
Sending a handmade and personal piece of mail is one of the best ways to remind an incarcerated person how much they are loved back home. Creating a drawing or piece of artwork is a simple way for children to comprehend making something for someone who is in a facility.
This piece of mail can be anything from a painting to a simple sketch that the child decides to create for the incarcerated person. A one-of-a-kind personal creation is both a great way for a child to express themselves, and a way to give the recipient a unique reminder of the artist’s love for them. Consider asking the child to draw themselves and the loved one, encouraging them to think of their family member or friend even while they are apart from one another.
Acceptable Food, Clothing, and Gifts
Giving a gift in the form of a care package is another great way to show your appreciation and love for an incarcerated individual. These items must be sent through private vendors and prison catalogues in order to abide by facility standards.
Items that seem simple to us can be greatly valued by those in facilities, because they do not have access to the same thing they would have while living at home. These types of gifts do not have to be complicated, and are an easy way to remind someone of home.
Photographs through Pelipost
Pelipost allows you to send pictures to your incarcerated loved ones through an easy three step process. With your incarcerated loved one’s mailing address and inmate ID number, you can upload a photo that will then be printed and delivered through Pelipost. Pelipost is also the top-ranked mobile app to send photos to incarcerated persons for its ease and affordability. It is important that you feel supported throughout the process, so our customer support team is here to help via email at email@example.com.
Our program is a simple and affordable way to deliver pictures right to your loved ones, and it is made possible by an experienced team who understands what it is like to have someone you love in a correctional facility. The app was born out of first-hand personal experience, and you can read more about the Pelipost origin story on our blog.
While a loved one is experiencing incarceration, it is very important to stay in contact with them. Phone calls, in-person visits, and sending letters are all important ways to stay connected. But sending photos can be the most impactful way to stay in contact with your inmate. Photos are a tangible item your incarcerated loved one can hold on to and remind themselves of how much they are loved back home. To simplify the procedure, apps have been created to send photos to inmates with ease. With its simple process, affordable cost, and experienced team of experts, Pelipost is the #1 app to send pictures to inmates.
Easy and Convenient Process
One of the main reasons Pelipost is the best app to send photos to inmates is our simple, user-friendly process. Once you have downloaded the Pelipost app from either the App Store or Google Play Store, there is a simple 3-step process for your photos to reach your loved one.
1) UPLOAD: First, enter your incarcerated loved one’s mailing address and inmate ID number. Then, upload your favorite photos to the Pelipost app directly from your camera roll and we’ll take it from there! Make sure to follow these tips for content and sizing restrictions for the photos.
2) PRINT: We will print, package, and ship your photos directly to the correctional facility. All photos are 4×6 glossy prints.
3) DELIVERY: Your photos arrive at your loved one’s facility in approximately 3-5 business days. From there, photos are screened and delivered to your loved one shortly after, depending on facility screening times.
Not only is the Peli-process easy to use, Pelipost is also the #1 app to send photos to inmates for its affordability. There are no hidden fees, gimmicks, or fake offers, and we are transparent about our prices upfront. To send your incarcerated loved one 5 photos, it is $3.99. To send 10 photos, it will cost you $6.99. And to send 20 photos to your inmate, the price is $8.99.
Great Customer Service
Founded by a mother and son duo, Pelipost is first and foremost a family run business. The friendly, supportive atmosphere of a family business easily translates over to our excellent customer service. Our top-notch service is marked by quick responses to help requests, surprise sales, and community building. To contact our customer service team, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org and a team member will be happy to assist you as soon as possible.
We Understand Because We’ve Been There
Pelipost is the best app to send photos to inmates because the team understands what incarceration is like firsthand. Joe Calderon realized the difficulty of sending photos to inmates when his mother, Becky, was incarcerated. Together, they came up with the idea for Pelipost to ease the process of sending these precious photos to loved ones. The Pelipost team knows what the incarceration process is like because we’ve been there, and we are here to support you during this journey.
Pelipost is a family-run business that was founded for the purpose of helping families affected by incarceration. As Pelipost’s business has grown, so has the team’s passion for making a positive impact on people with incarcerated loved ones. To give back to this community, the team decided to create the Pelipost Overcoming Adversity Scholarship, which will be debuting in January 2022. We sat down with Joe Calderon, son of a formerly incarcerated mother and co-founder of Pelipost, for a Q&A on the Pelipost scholarship.
What is the Pelipost Overcoming Adversity Scholarship?
The Pelipost Overcoming Adversity Scholarship was created to empower and reward 5 students seeking a college education while experiencing the hardships of having a parent or guardian behind bars. The National Institute of Corrections estimates roughly 2.7 million children have an incarcerated parent or guardian, revealing that there are more children impacted by incarceration than adults currently in the prison system.
“To apply for our scholarship, the student must be pursuing an undergraduate degree, have a parent who is incarcerated, and submit an essay,” Joe says. “The winners will be picked based on which essays are compelling, connected to the cause, and where our company can make the greatest impact for the greatest need.”
Joe Calderon’s Story
The Calderon family created the Pelipost Overcoming Adversity Scholarship because they understand what it is like to go through college with an incarcerated parent, and want to give back to students in similar situations. Joe Calderon was in his freshman year of college when his mother, Becky, was sentenced to three years in prison.
“It’s a personal experience for me. I know the struggles firsthand of being a first time student, having a job, and going through having a parent on the inside,” Joe says. “I know other kids out there are going through the same experiences, so it just felt right to do our part and help them overcome these challenges.”
When Joe was in college around ten years ago, he worked both a part time job and internship — all while taking classes — to make ends meet. He pointed out that college expenses have exponentially increased since then as well, making it even more difficult for these students to pay tuition.
If Joe had a scholarship like this during his educational career, it “would’ve relieved financial headaches,” he says. “I would have worried less about money and focused more on my education.”
Furthering Education While Facing Adversity
When a parent is incarcerated, it can force a young person to grow up fast. Adding this aspect to a student’s life can add a lot more stress, responsibility, and challenges to overcome.
“On top of your schoolwork and job, you have to stay connected with your incarcerated loved one, write to them, send photos, add money to their books, send quarterly packages, and try and visit,” Joe says. “When my mom was incarcerated, her facility was 8 hours away. Making the time to visit took up almost a whole weekend.”
All of these added responsibilities and hurdles to jump over can have an impact on these children furthering their education. However, on the other hand, the strength they gain from facing adversity can help them to adjust to the realities of the real world. Joe Calderon believes that these experiences give you a sense of responsibility and can mature you in a way others may not relate to — whether you want them to or not.
“These experiences show you the challenges that you are able to overcome,” Joe says. “That’s what life is. It throws you curveballs that you’re not ready for, but builds your character when you overcome them.”
Words of Encouragement
Although faced with challenges, Joe Calderon went on to graduate with his college degree and managed to start his own business. He encourages students overcoming adversity to keep going.
“You always have to remember that when you’re in a crisis it’s only a temporary state,” he says. “You have to keep looking towards the future and working hard.”
He goes on to say that even if it feels like, “why is this happening to me?”, you should keep persevering because there is a bigger plan to your life.
“If my mom had never gone on the inside, we would have never started this business that impacts thousands of people everyday,” Joe says. “You have to keep pushing because the hard times are only temporary.”
Communication is important in any relationship, but becomes increasingly crucial when that relationship becomes long distance. While a loved one is experiencing incarceration, it is vital to keep in contact with them to keep your relationship alive. Not only will this improve your relationship, but this two-way communication has many benefits for your incarcerated loved one. Sending mail to your beloved inmate is a simple, easy, and effective way to communicate with them during the period of incarceration. Keep reading for our tips on how to send mail to an inmate and the mailing address information required.
These days, the rise of smartphones, emails, texting, and social media has nearly eliminated the practice of sending and receiving physical mail. Although there are many ways to keep in touch with your incarcerated loved one, sending physical letters and photos provides tangible items your inmate can hold on to. They can keep this mail with them in their belongings, and when they are feeling lonely or having a tough day, your loved one can reread your words and know that they are loved. Physical mail is also nice for an inmate to share with their cell mates about their family and who they are back home.
Mailing Address Information Required
Sending a letter to a loved one in a correctional facility is different from sending other mail through the postal service. There are different steps to sending a letter to an incarcerated loved one, one of the most important being the mailing address information. These days, many correctional facilities are requiring more details when it comes to inmate mailing information. A standard rule of thumb is to include the following details:
This information is important to include to ensure that your mail makes it to your loved one. The more specific you can get with your inmate’s information, the better the chance they will receive it.
Double Check for Details
Sometimes, the mail process in a prison can be disorganized. A good practice is to check information on the facility’s website; however, facility website information can sometimes be outdated. Another way to double check the details is to call the facility your loved one is at. The best way to have the most accurate mailing information is to ask your incarcerated loved one when visiting face-to-face or talking to them on the phone. Verifying mailing information with your loved one will eliminate returned mail and ultimately prevent delays in delivery. The details become so important when sending mail to your incarcerated loved one.
What to Do if They Move
Sometimes, your incarcerated loved one will move facilities. For example, they may move from a jail to a prison, or be transferred to a different location. Most of the time if your incarcerated loved one is moved to a new facility, their ‘inmate ID #’ will change. It is important to be aware of that and update your mailing address information before sending any letters or photos. Some facilities will forward the mail, but this is a rare occurrence. Most often the mail will be returned to the sender if the correct identification information is not updated.
We Can Help!
One way to be sure that your mail makes it to your incarcerated loved one is by using Pelipost. When you choose to send your loved one pictures through our app, we’ll take care of the rest, making sure that the mail is delivered in a timely and secure manner. If you ever have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact our customer service team via email at email@example.com.