‘Survival lifeline’ – Citywide rallies call for end of inmate care package ban
Advocates for inmates and families rallied across the five boroughs today, calling for an end to the Department of Corrections’ ban on families sending care packages to correctional facilities.
The state banned shipping or hand-delivering packages. All items must now be sent directly from approved vendors, like FedEx or the postal service. Only two packages per year can be sent.
"Packages are a survival lifeline to continue to live,” said Aqirah Stanley, the deputy director for Alliance of Families For Justice. “Vendor-only packages are not acceptable.”
“Sometimes bringing packages into the prison for our loved ones was the only connection,” said Jeannie Colon, who is the Bronx community leader of Release Aging People in Prison. “And our loved ones appreciated the time and the effort.”
Colon, whose husband is currently behind bars, says the package ban hurts everyone involved, saying it puts a financial burden on families who either have to use the approved vendors or provide more commissary money to buy items on the inside.
"They do not have the proper clothes, they do not have the proper food, they do not have the proper shoes, and these are all things that families provide,” said Stanley.
The Department of Corrections and Community Services says since the new vendor package program has been implemented, there has only been one package with contraband, compared to over 900 in 2020.