I’m locked up My family should be able to mail me food.

In December 2017, the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (NYSDOCCS) made life for inmates a little more painful.

The Secure Vendor Package Program was instituted to deal with contraband – such as drugs and guns – allegedly smuggled in through family care packages. That wasn’t comfort food to give an incarcerated person a taste of home and maybe even a little hope.

However, the program allowed families to purchase food packages from a handful of overpriced government-contracted vendors. Essentially, the state found a way to enrich private companies by taking our care packages away from us – in the name of “safety”.

There was immediate outrage at the Green Haven and Bedford Hills correctional facilities, where the Secure Vendor Package Program was to be piloted.

Detainees and their families quickly organized protests, and the authorities responded with draconian sanctions.

Deprived of their voices, the inmates continued their protest in silence, and as if a switch were suddenly flipped, the once-busy prison fell into utter silence.

While the detainees calmly persisted, their families raised their voices tenfold. And their protests reached the ears of New York State Assemblyman David Weprin, who helped form a coalition of lawmakers against this cruel and unfair practice. Finally, under immense pressure from popular power, Albany relented and canceled the Secure Vendor Package Program.

The people won, we thought. But the victory would be short-lived as Albany’s withdrawal was temporary.

Lastly, if you want inmates to pass their time without incident and re-enter society as honest citizens, cut them even further from “home.”

NYSDOCCS acting commissioner Anthony Annucci said in a memo that he wants to revitalize key elements of the program, “an increase in violence and overdoses due to the introduction of contraband through the packing chamber, particularly illegal drugs and weapons.”

Instead of taking responsibility for his department’s failure to protect incarcerated individuals, Mr. Annucci essentially blames their family members.

As Emily Brown and Rebecca McCray wrote in the New York Focus: “There is ample evidence nationwide that law enforcement officers are bringing drugs, guns and other contraband into jails and jails; Over the past two years, several New York City correctional officers have been charged with allegedly smuggling contraband into prisons for cash.

Of course, some people who send care packages have bad intentions, but the vast majority are law-abiding citizens just trying to send some love to their incarcerated loved ones.

Detained people have to endure humiliation on a daily basis. We bend at the waist and spread our cheeks after each visit, lest we be denied time with our families in the future. We endure physical and verbal abuse from corrupt officials just lest we do anything to jeopardize our release. And we work on modern plantations for six cents an hour just to lighten the burden we put on our family’s shoulders.

For the love of our families and for the sake of our lives, we turn the other cheek to disrespect, we shun any threat, and we appreciate every opportunity to improve.

There is almost nothing restorative or rehabilitating about being incarcerated. But there is also something positive about being locked up: it allows those incarcerated to see the importance of family, which we might have once taken for granted but would never do again.

If you want inmates to pass their time without incident and re-enter society as honest citizens, the last thing you should do is cut them further from “home”.

Clean up the mess in your own backyard, starting with corrupt officers smuggling guns and drugs into correctional facilities, and leave our care packs alone.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/im-incarcerated-my-family-should-be-allowed-to-mail-me-food?source=articles&via=rss I’m locked up My family should be able to mail me food.


Hung is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Hung joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing: hung@interreviewed.com.

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