Petition against Package Restrictions to NYS Prisoners


hi all, so we are really trying to get the word out about this
petition. The pilot program is set to start in August, so we don’t have
much time! Please send to any family groups you know as well, and
encourage them to share their stories, which they can send to
iwoc.nyc@riseup.net!

https://diy.rootsaction.org/petitions/no-package-restrictions-for-nys-prisoners

jc from iwoc

PO Box 720/1132 Southern Blvd./Bronx NY 10459

In Spring of 2017, NYS DOCCS announced through an internal memo that
they will be that they will be restricting packages to prisoners,
forcing family members to buy overpriced food, religious items, clothes,
and basic amenities from prison industry vendors. In April, the DOCCS
conducted a conference from vendors, but it is unclear if any met the
requirements of DOCCS. The “pilot program” is set to begin in August,
and we know it will be in one women’s prison, one maximum, and one
lower-security prison. It is not too late to stop this directive (4911A)
from passing, but we need the support or organizations, state officials,
and family members!

Why is this important?

Visitation packages are a crucial part of subsistence in the prisons.
New York State’s prison system that houses over 60,000 men, women, and
children, all of whom are under fed, under nourished, and are not able
to meet hygiene needs without purchasing products. Packages brought in
by visitors allow prisoners to sustain themselves while they suffer the
“slow death” of the prison system. They receive books, hygiene products,
stationery, religious objects, underwear, shoes, shirts and blouses
(which allow inmates to regulate their body temperature). All of these
objects are crucial for survival for inmates. The proposal to revise the
package directive 4911 by adding 4911A to restrict packages to a small
selection of prison vendors will severely restrict what prisoners can
have (which is already extremely restrictive) and raise costs for family
members who already have an extra burden to bear taking care of their
loved ones in and out of prison. Currently, visitation packages can be
purchased from bulk stores, which allow families to keep costs down. We
can be assured that packages purchased through vendors will be more
expensive. In addition to increasing costs for families who are already
financially struggling, this directive will put even more money into the
hands of the prison industry, which is already a multi-million dollar a
year industry that thrives of other people’s immiseration. Meanwhile,
prisoners are working for slave wages, making 10-16 cents an hour, and
are completely reliant on outside support to supplement their starvation
diets served in prison.

Furthermore, the justification for restricting packages is that visitors
are allegedly smuggling drugs through packages. However, as
investigations show, it is often corrections officers who smuggle drugs,
and who are the ones allowing in tainted packages. Instead of monitoring
the COs–there are currently no cameras in the package room–DOCCS is
instead punishing prisoners and their families. In addition, suicide in
prison is often a result of alienation, deprivation, and lack of
stimulation, which will all increase with a new package restriction. The
only things that this directive will be taking out of the prisons if it
is implemented are prisoners’ human dignity, will, and incentive for
good behavior.

We are asking that the new directive, 4911A, be repealed immediately,
before the NYS prison system wastes time and money on vendor contracts,
and before the lives of 60,000 inmates and their families are changed
for the worse.

Written by families and friends of inmates from the Women’s Facilities
of NYS, presented by Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee

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