About Ameelio

Ameelio is a technology nonprofit that builds software to combat mass incarceration. We’re disrupting the $3 billion predatory prison communications industry to create a more humane and rehabilitative corrections system for the over 2 million people incarcerated and their 27M loved ones. Our tools are built to power broadscale decarceration.

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Our story

Ameelio is a team of technologists, advocates, designers, lawyers, and engineers who are committed to fundamentally transforming the criminal justice system for the better. At the core of our work is an understanding that poverty is a key driver of mass incarceration. 50% of prisoners have no earnings in the eight years leading up to their incarceration. In the year immediately preceding the imprisonment, that percentage jumps to 80%.

Ameelio is one of the boldest and most innovative approaches to criminal justice reform, not only because of our ability to build powerful technology to tackle the most challenging problems in the space but also because our tools are informed by the profound understanding that sustainable decarceration is only possible if we provide the incarcerated with the vital resources and pathways that they lacked prior to incarceration (i.e. educational equity, economic mobility, societal support, and more).

Software is rapidly transforming the world around us; we intend to use it to solve one of society’s greatest social crises — mass incarceration.

The problem

Nearly 1 in 2 Americans have an immediate family member who 
is currently or has previously been incarcerated. 1 in 4 American adults has had a sibling incarcerated. 1 in 5 has had a parent sent to jail or prison, and 1 in 8 has had a child incarcerated.

The footprint of mass incarceration is staggering. And worse yet, predatory prison companies backed by private equity and hedge funds have been exploiting this crisis and millions of Americans for decades.

The Predatory Prison Communications Industry

Mass incarceration costs taxpayers $182 billion a year. It costs millions of families everything they have. Two predatory prison telecom companies generate obscene profits by charging extortionate prices to the incarcerated and their loved-ones simply to maintain contact.

Families spend up to $500/month just to stay connected with incarcerated loved ones. A 15-minute phone call runs as steep as $25, and an email costs $1.50. This drives 1 in 3 families into debt and keeps recidivism rates at staggering levels (55 percent within 3 years).

Decades of research show that sustained family contact dramatically improves post-release outcomes and significantly reduces recidivism.

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Crisis &  Opportunity on the Horizon for Prison Education

Access to education while incarcerated is extremely limited. 64% percent of folks in state and federal prisons are academically qualified for postsecondary prison education programs, yet only 9% of incarcerated individuals completed college courses while in prison. Of the 960,000 incarcerated individuals eligible for college, only 86,400 will leave prison having completed a college course, let alone graduate. While a small handful of elite in-person prison education programs have been inspiring leaders in the space, they are geographically limited and small in size.

In late 2020, Congress expanded Pell Grants to incarcerated persons, making 463,000 currently incarcerated people eligible to receive educational financial aid. Yet, before Ameelio, no virtual prisons education platform existed to help programs scale their reach.

The predatory prison companies that have exploited vulnerable families for years are looking to cash in on pell grants, trapping the incarcerated students in low quality digital  environments.

Access to higher education for incarcerated individuals is critical in reducing recidivism and improving post-release outcomes. Incarcerated individuals who participate in post-secondary education programs are 43% less likely to recidivate, and every dollar invested in post-secondary prison education saves the public $4-5 in decarceration savings. Ameelio is poised to democratize access to prison education.

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We’re scaling fast

We're expanding fast! Get in touch and bring leading technology into your facilities.

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Our founders

Uzoma "Zo"

CEO & Co-founder

Zo is the CEO and co-founder of Ameelio. He holds a Masters degree in Criminology from the University of Cambridge, and JD-MBA from Yale Law and Yale School of Management. He is 2022 MIT Tech Review 35 under 35 recipient.

Gabe

CTO & Co-founder

Gabe is the CTO and co-founder of Ameelio. He holds a Computer Science and Psychology degree from Yale. He has worked at Facebook and Zippi. He was awarded Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business 2021.

Our team and culture

Ameelio is a nonprofit technology team headquartered in New York City, and New Haven, CT. We began as an all-volunteer effort until late-2020. Since, we have built an A-team that brings together best-in-class technical and criminal justice expertise. Our engineering and product teams come from: Apple, Facebook, Red Hat, Kickstarter, and other leading tech companies.

We pride ourselves in having a no-ego culture and have built one of the kindest and most dedicated teams in tech.

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Join our team

Software Engineer (Mid-Level/Senior)

United States | Remote OK | Full-time

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Director of National Sales & Government Partnerships

United States | Remote OK | Full-time

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Public Policy & Advocacy Manager

United States | Remote OK | Full-time

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Sales Development Representative (Mid/Senior)

United States | Remote OK | Full-time

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Devops Engineer

New York City, NY | Remote OK | Full-time

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Controller

United States | Full-time

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Get in touch

General inquiries | team@ameelio.org

Careers | ameelio.breezy.hr

Customer support | customersupport@ameelio.org

Want to request a demo?

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