Prison: Inspiring Projects And Startups

Prison can hardly be considered a positive phenomenon: it’s more like an inevitable evil in conditions of modern society. However, even prison might make people’s minds work in a special way and inspire them to create something new and useful.

A while ago, the Inquisitr reported about creation of Orange is the New Black cookbook. Fans of the series went wild about this project, and though the recipes do not quite resemble the meals in real prisons, the origins of the book still were by inspired the concept of prison.

“On October 14, the official Orange is the New Black cookbook was released, featuring 65 different recipes for dishes pulled directly from the television show or inspired by show characters. You can start the day off right with prison-inspired meals, including ‘SHU Moldy Mystery Meat’ and ‘Breakfast Sandwich (without the tampon).'”

Some may argue that only fictional prison might provide people with productive thoughts and that actual prison cannot do anything else but keep inmates locked away. Well, Frederick Hutson is a living proof of this idea being wrong. He spent four years in prison for routing marijuana shipments as he came upon the idea of Internet startup for prisoners. Back then, he did not know a thing about software development, he had to learn more about agile methodology and programming, but it did not stop Hutson from putting all of his entrepreneurial skills into work on this project. He managed to find himself a partner and investors, won an initial funding round of $1 million, and finally, his project – Pigeonly – became a reality. And, according to Phys, a success.

“The startup provided online tools for locating inmates, who could typically be transferred and their whereabouts buried in bureaucracy families have trouble navigating. Pigeonly offered a way for prisoners’ families or friends to upload digital images that were then printed and physically mailed to inmates. Pigeonly also provided a way to use Internet telephony technology to enable prisoners avoid high-priced calls from behind bars.”

Hutson said the startup ships millions of pictures monthly and has saved families of prisoners more than $7 million in phone charges.

Actually, Frederick Hutson managed to discover a completely new, digitally neglected target audience – prisoners. His discovery provides other entrepreneurs with countless possibilities to create new types of startups, designed specifically for prisons – and who knows, perhaps prison software and apps are going to become a new business and IT trend.