Photo: Getty Images
  /  08.15.2022

New York prisons will no longer allow inmates to receive packages during visits. The new policy also states inmates can not be sent packages, unless it is from a third-party source. The rule was introduced last month to crack down on contraband inside facilities, NBC New York 4 reported yesterday (Aug. 14).

The outlet spoke with Caroline Hansen, whose husband is serving a life sentence, about the new policy. For a decade, she has looked forward to bringing special deliveries to her husband. “When I first started bringing him packages, he said he loved avocados. He hadn’t had them in about 20 years,” she shared. The mother of two continued, “What breaks my heart is, I take for granted having a banana with my yogurt. Imagine never being able to eat a banana?”

According to Hansen, the prison where her husband is serving a life sentence only serves bananas about once per month. In addition to the no package policy, New York will soon do away with letters written on paper. The outlet explains that the majority of letters sent to inmates will be scanned on a computer and then the inmate will be given a copy. In some cases, prisoners have found ways to smuggle drugs by soaking letters in substances. Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Nebraska and Ohio have already adopted this process.

In 2003, California banned inmates from being able to receive packages that were sent directly to the prison from loved ones. Florida has a similar policy in place as well. Those wishing to send gifts can instead check with a list of approved shopping vendors. Wanda Bertram (a communications strategist at the Prison Policy Initiative) seems to share Hansen’s sentiments when sending care packages containing healthy food to prisoners. Bertram describes the food served in prison as a “nutritional nightmare.”

Wilfredo Laracuente spent two decades in prison for murder, but now helps newly released inmates reenter into society. He spoke with the news station and explained, “This is going to be the beginning of the end, where they stop everything under the guise of security and contraband. What they’re doing is removing the human component that’s very vital and necessary for the reentry process.”

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