Prisoners lament latest package ban in New York
Nada Shalash reports in the Times Union about how New York’s new package policy is affecting incarcerated individuals. The Department of Corrections and Community Supervision announced earlier this year that in New York family and friends can no longer bring care packages during visits to incarcerated loved ones or mail them directly to correctional facilities in order to improve prison security. Instead, packages can only be mailed directly from approved vendors, including the U.S. Postal Service, FedEx, and UPS. Render Stetson-Shanahan, incarcerated at the Mid-State Correctional Facility in Marcy, misses the packages his mother brought him. “She made the packages lovingly, always trying to add something different and surprising,” he said in an email to the Times Union. “I do not believe the new policy will result in a significant change to the influx of contraband, nor do I believe that packages were ever the primary (or secondary) mode of introducing contraband to facilities.” Priscila Echevarria de Sepulveda, whose husband is incarcerated at the Fishkill Correctional Facility in Beacon, said, “How are they going to get fresh vegetables? Fresh produce? Fresh fruit? In transit, it’s going to get rotten.” Cooked meat, for instance, is now effectively banned by the policy. A similar package ban in 2018 was later retracted after a public backlash. Officials from the Department of Corrections and Community declined to be interviewed for this story, but DOCCS spokesperson Nicole Sheremeta referred to a statement saying the package ban “was driven by the increasing number of packages found to contain contraband drugs and weapons.” The department also said “it is inaccurate to label this a package ban.” Read more about this story in the Times Union.