Families of NY State Prison Inmates Demand to End Package Ban
From the beginning of 2022, the 30,000 arrested who are confined in more than 44 state prisons of New York run by the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) they have been faced with strong changes in package delivery protocols by their relatives.
And this Tuesday, after denouncing that the prohibitions and limits that prisons have imposed so that inmates receive regular parcels, dozens of relatives of inmates and community defenders, demonstrated in front of the office of Governor Kathy Hochul to demand that she reverse the changes. .
The Puerto Rican Jeannie Colonwho has his husband, Jose Colonimprisoned 24 years ago in the prison of Sing Sing, in upstate New York, said she was very saddened and upset with the policy change that prohibits people from sending food packages directly to incarcerated family members, and limits the number of personal packages that can be received to two per year.
The community leader called for the Governor Hochul and to the State Department of Corrections to remove the new protocols from the map, which were imposed, as he mentioned, under the excuse that the packages received by inmates encouraged the smuggling of prohibited items.
“That is a big lie, because the packages that we took to our loved ones always went through an exhaustive review. The contraband is entering in other ways that should be investigated, go to the root of the problem and not punish our families and the prisoners”, Colon said.
“Sometimes they don’t have toilet paper, they don’t have soap, they need healthy and nutritious food, and by limiting the packages that we can deliver to them, their needs will increase, and everything will be more expensive for us with astronomical prices charged by the Few providers that are approved”, denounced the Hispanic.
“They are doing business with the dignity of our people and, incidentally, they are destroying moments that unite us, such as when I went to buy things for my husband, we always talked. That no longer exists and with the companies to send the packages, everything is very expensive and it is not enough for me”.
Agirah Stanleydirector of the organization Alliance of Families for Justicewho was imprisoned in the New York jailsdescribed the ban on delivering packages to inmates as an unfair act that discriminates against those most in need.
“The packages for our people in prisons are an act of survival. It is unacceptable that these limits have been created and that is why we demand that Governor Hochul end these prohibitions today and say no to vendors,” said the activist. “We are already with many loads and we cannot pay the costs that these companies charge. Many families do not have credit cards to order online and others do not even have internet. The governor You must understand that when we talk about prisons we are talking about families with the lowest income in the communities.”
The young woman too criticized DOCCS for trying to justify the change in the protocols and limits of package deliveries to the internal traffic of unauthorized products.
“When one takes something to the prisons, the packages are already inspected from top to bottom. There are dogs even checking our private parts and now they are going to say that contraband is coming in with those packages. They have X-rays, use them. They have eyes, noses, hands, and intelligence to check packages. They are just excuses and lies to say that contraband enters there,” added the former inmate.
Teresa Gradymember of the Family Coalition for the release of older inmates, he shouted at the top of his lungs that the relatives of the inmates are not going to allow prisoners in New York to be limited to a basic right to receive parcels.
“I come here to speak loud and clear: Governor, packages cannot be limited. You cannot come to deny the nutrition that the interns deserve. My detained husband suffers and needs tomatoes, vegetables and healthy food that they do not receive in prisons, ”said the woman, who added that her pocket cannot withstand the new protocols.
“In addition, sending packages to our people with the new policies, through companies, means more money and it will make things more difficult for people in need, like me, because I can’t pay for those shipments now, so we need them to repay the parcels, as before, already”, added Grady.
The demonstration in front of the office of the Governor Hochul coincided with a series of similar protests that took place in other corners of the New York State like Long Island, New York, Westchester, Albany, Syracuse y Buffalowhere more than 100 families pressured the president to revoke the new package delivery protocols.
Veronica Finnerman, of the organization New Hour for Women and Children Long Island stated that the packages have a meaning of quality of life.
“I spent three years incarcerated hundreds of miles from my family. They couldn’t visit me. I depended on my aid packages every month to survive. State food is hardly decent for human consumption. The commissioner is incredibly expensive and he doesn’t have what we need, ”said the former inmate, noting that the new regulations have a stronger impact on women.
“Women and pregnant people are disproportionately harmed by this ban. Now I am a mother and I cannot imagine being incarcerated and pregnant. The package ban does not affect the amount of contraband entering prisons.” added the woman. “We all know where the contraband comes from, and not from packages. We are all human beings, mothers and women who deserve basic human rights.”
Jerome Wrightco-director of the #HALTsolitary campaign, stated that the denial of packages violates principles and rights.
“Why are we going this way again? The packs are essential for physical, mental and emotional sustainability. Putting this additional burden on the family and friends of the incarcerated is unconscionable and criminal,” the activist said.
Anthony Bibbsof the Center for Community Alternatives, who was at the rally in Syracuse, said the packages are critical to surviving in prison.
“The packets complement the terrible, often inedible food in the prison. They make sure you have toiletries and can keep yourself clean. Without packages, you have to beg other people for your basic needs, which is hard to do in prison,” Bibbs said.
“As a result of these baseless bans, families will be forced to use price gouging vendors to send food to their loved ones. The availability of food is extremely limited and cannot be adapted to nutritional, religious and cultural needs,” said the Coalition of Families, through a statement. “Fresh food can spoil during transit, denying incarcerated people access to healthy food.”
The protesters highlighted that in addition to the financial cost of the new protocols, there is an emotional burden and damage with the ban on packages, as well as the damage to the health of incarcerated people.
They also denounced that in 2017 former Governor Andrew Cuomo tried to implement similar prohibition actions, but had to stop them.
At the close of this edition, neither the Office of Governor Hochul nor the Department of Corrections of the State had issued a pronouncement on the claims of the families of the inmates.
NY State Prisons in Numbers
- There are 44 state prisons in New York State.
- 30,832 was the average prison population as of last June
- 21.2 years is the average time that detainees have been imprisoned
- 9,003 inmates are between the ages of 18 and 20
- 4,215 inmates are between 21 and 24 years old
- 3,004 prisoners are between 25 and 29 years old
- 3,023 inmates are between 30 and 34 years old
- 2,534 prisoners are between 35 and 39 years old
- 1,081 inmates are between 40 and 44 years old
- 2,346 inmates are between 45 and 49 years old
- 1,746 prisoners are between 50 and 54 years old
- 1,660 inmates are between 55 and 59 years old
- 2,155 prisoners between 60 and 64 years old
- 65 prisoners are 65 and over
The new parcel delivery rules
- 2022 the new protocols for delivery of packages to inmates began to apply
- 2 is the limit of times per year inmates can receive clothing packages
- 35 pounds maximum is the allowed weight of each of these consignments
- $18 dollars, according to relatives, the intermediary companies charge for a bag of soaps
- 2017 in Governor Cuomo tried to make similar changes
- Food packages can no longer be taken directly but purchased through suppliers