Walmart was founded on the value of equitable opportunity, and racial equity is critical to their mission and business. Incarceration in the US disproportionately affects people of color, creating a cycle of incarceration.
Walmart has attempted to break that cycle with Bedtime Stories, a literacy program between parent and child, by connecting incarcerated parents and their children through the power of reading. The digital experience simulates, for the child, the feeling of reading next to their parent.
Within the jail, inmates make an audio recording of themselves reading a children’s book. That recording is uploaded to the Bedtime Stories cloud server. At home, the child accesses the secure recording within the Bedtime Stories app to hear their parent reading the book to them... just as if they were side by side.
When the child hovers a smartphone over the book’s pages, the parent’s voice comes to life, reading the book, word by word. In addition, the parent can read special messages for their child, further simulating the read-together experience.
The launch of Bedtime Stories at the nation’s second largest jail, Cook County Jail, has impacted many families, and has become a model for other communities and correctional facilities.