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NY Governor Suspends Policy Eliminating Book Deliveries to Prison Inmates

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has suspended the new policy eliminating prison package delivery. The recent policy was set forward by the NYS Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.

About the NYS Prison Book Delivery Ban

The new bans disallows the deliveries of the following items to New York state prisons, unless they come from approved vendors:

  • Books
  • Clothing
  • Food

This ban also extends to other personal items for prison inmates. People with incarcerated loved ones were required to order supplies only from a handful of state-approved retailers.

The reason given for the ban is that it will deter smuggling of contraband into state prisons.

#BooksForPrisoners Image Source: English Pen

NY State Halts Delivery Ban Due to Concern for Prison Families

The dust raised by inmates’ families and prison reform advocates has forced the hands of the governor. Cuomo now puts implementation of the new prison package policy on hold.

This is in direct response to harsh reactions from public agencies and national lawmakers. In fact, the outcry generated a postcard-writing campaign that reached the New York state governor.

Thomas Mailey, a corrections department spokesman, said:

“Concerns have been raised by families of inmates regarding the availability and price of products under this program, concerns we do not take lightly. In the meantime, we will redouble our efforts on the other parts of our multifaceted plan to eliminate contraband and increase safety in our prison system.”

The controversial prison package policy initially took off as a pilot program in three state prisons. It has now been suspended till further notice in the prisons.

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Reading Together: GTL now offers a prison book service for inmates and their loved ones called JPlay.
Reading Together: GTL now offers a prison book service for inmates and their loved ones called JPlay.
Image Source: robbie_cumming/Instagram

Will the Ban Stick or Be Banned?

Families of incarcerated persons and criminal justice advocates hailed Cuomo’s intervention. A number of people are however not settled that the present halt on the program will be a permanent one.

Soffiyah Elijah, executive director of Alliance of Families for Justice, said:

“I don’t know if this is going to be a permanent end to this idea, or if we’ll see it reincarnated in different form in the not-too-distant future. For now, we will cautiously celebrate, but be ever vigilant and watchful as to what else might come.”

It is unknown whether the halted ban on deliveries will resurface in a new incarnation. But it is a temporal victory for the families and relatives of prison loved ones.

Families of incarcerated loved ones are often poor and financially incapacitated, and find it difficult to embark on long distance visitation to inmates. However, the ban on prison package delivery would have compounded their problems and taken a heavier toll on families.

Charles Omedo
Charles Omedo has a degree in Mass Communication and a PGD in Digital Communication. He worked as a newspaper/magazine reporter and editor for many years. Now, he writes daily news articles for private clients. Charles has written for US/UK/Canadian/Indian clients on various niches. He currently writes prison news for loved ones of inmates on the Prison Rideshare Network.