A ban was implemented with the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Services in August, and many people are upset, while others feel it’s necessary.
The ban stops family members from being able to send packages of food and necessities to their loved ones currently incarcerated. While they can’t send packages directly from the outside, they can use vendors.
NYSDOCCS has said the implementation helps to eliminate both contraband and overdoses.
Advocates for incarcerated people and their families claim that the policy does not reduce the amount of contraband. They say it works to disconnect families even more and stops those in prison from getting nutritious foods as costs continue to rise. Lawmakers have said if Governor Kathy Hochul doesn’t take action to overturn the policy then they will work to introduce legislation that will.
While advocates claim the ban doesn’t work to reduce contraband, prison officials suggest that early data shows it does. In 2020, DOCCS said they found 924 packages with contraband, a massive increase from 2021. Between January and August of 2021 there were 577.
The ban was implemented slowly starting in May of 2022 before reaching 44 prisons by August 15.
According to the Democrat and Chronicle, DOCCS spokesperson Thomas Mailey said there has been an 81% drop in contraband in the package room through October 2022.
This is not the first time this has happened- in 2018 a similar ban was implemented, which Governor Andrew Cuomo rescinded following public outrage.
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