According to Black Enterprise Jay’Aine Patton knows firsthand the struggles of maintaining a relationship with a parent who is incarcerated. When her father Antoine was in prison she found it very hard to stay in communication with him, dealing the the woes of the prison industrial complex and the financial strain that comes along with that. While incarcerated, Antoine learned how to code, creating a website where children can communicate with their parents without charge. Upon his release, his daughter helped build out the site, developing a mobile app to go with it.
(Jay’Aine and father Antoine.) Photo Courtesy of Vikki Law/Teen Vogue
Photo Patch allows children to write letters and send photos to their parents who are incarcerated, without the usual charges associated with mailing. The app has proven to be incredibly popular, garnering more than 2,000 users and racking up more than 10,000 downloads. With prison restrictions in place as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the app has proven even more useful, with 75-100 messages being sent daily.
“Everybody’s on their phone. It’s way easier for them to take a picture and type a letter right there. No matter where the child or parent is, they should always have a bond, a connection, and be able to talk to each other. We know that being able to talk to each other helped our bond a lot. So why not give that same thing for [other] kids and parents?,” Patton said.
The app is run from donation funds received through Patton and her father’s foundation. To learn more about their efforts, how you can support, or to download the app visit www.photopatch.org.