New York Families Hold Rallies to End Prison Package Ban
According to a report by New York Amsterdam News, families from across New York held concurrent rallies this week calling for an end to the prison package ban put in place by the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.
The ban was put in place earlier this year in an effort to reduce the amount of contraband entering the prison system. According to a previous article on WNBF, incarcerated individuals are no longer allowed to receive packages directly from friends or family. Instead, all packages must be sent through third-party vendors, eliminating personalized care packages containing things like home cooked food.
Additionally, incarcerated individuals are no longer allowed to receive outside letters. Instead, letters are scanned by the prison and incarcerated individuals receive a copy of the letter. This is done in another effort to prevent contraband from entering the prison system. The ban also limits the number of non-food packages an incarcerated individual can receive to two per year.
According to the New York Amsterdam News report, more than 100 families across the state attended rallies, including ones in Syracuse, Albany and Buffalo. Critics of the ban have cited nutritional concerns and the dehumanization of incarcerated individuals when calling for an end to the ban.
In another report regarding the ban, Caroline Hansen, whose husband is serving a life sentence, told Maysoon Khan of the Associated Press "What breaks my heart is, I take for granted having a banana with my yogurt. Imagine never being able to eat a banana?" Hansen also told Khan "My husband basically thinks this is one more way to deprive him of his basic necessities."
In addition to the rallies, many families of incarcerated individuals have sent grievance letters to Assemblymember David Weprin, who chairs the Assembly's Committee on Correction.