Flikshop seeks to make it easier to communicate with those incarcerated.
Although making communication easier between those on the outside and those locked up will forever be a controversial issue, it’s true that methods haven’t been improved upon over the years. The technology advances on the outside often make it far tougher for those on the inside to shake their institutionalization and weave themselves back into society. Part of the “punishment” of being locked up is the loneliness, and yet this is also part of the problem. Few things can break the human psyche faster than feeling alone, unneeded and unloved. And this “breaking” doesn’t simply wear off once an inmate is released. Inmate Troy Chapman offered some beautiful insights in this NPR piece:
“There’s a lot of talk about what’s wrong with prisons in America. We need more programs; we need more psychologists or treatment of various kinds. Some even talk about making prisons more kind, but I think what we really need is a chance to practice kindness ourselves. Not receive it, but give it.
After more than two decades here, I know that kindness is not a value that’s encouraged. It’s often seen as weakness. Instead the culture encourages keeping your head down, minding your own business and never letting yourself be vulnerable.
For a few days a raggedy cat disrupted this code of prison culture. They’ve taken him away now, hopefully to a decent home — but it did my heart good to see the effect he had on me and the men here. He didn’t have a Ph.D., he wasn’t a criminologist or a psychologist, but by simply saying, “I need some help here,” he did something important for us. He needed us — and we need to be needed. I believe we all do.”
Further, America’s mass incarceration problem means that record numbers of inmates are locked up, which means record numbers of Americans are now separated from people close to them. It seems Flikshop has something with great potential.
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