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NY Prisons Limit Books Accessible to Inmates

January 15, 2018, on Criminal Defense Articles |

Albany criminal defense attorneys can provide you with representation if you have been accused of criminal conduct and are facing jail or prison time.  You want to do everything possible to fight against accusations that could result in your incarceration, or to try to reduce the penalties that you could face through a plea agreement if you don't wish to fight in court for acquittal.

Fighting for your freedom is especially important in New York where there is ample evidence that prison serves not to rehabilitate offenders, but simply to impose punishment. Within New York prisons, unfortunately new programs have only recently been put into place that make life worse for prisoners and that could prevent those who are incarcerated from taking steps to improve their circumstances.  These rules relate to access to books.

New Rules Limit Access to Books for New York Prisoners

Newsweek reported on the new rules that have been put in place in relation to access to books among prisoners within New York.  According to Newsweek, the new regulations were put in place by Directive 4911A, and will apply to three prisons where there is a new program being tried out.  The new program is called the Secure Vendor Program and it imposes strict limitations on what packages can be received by prisoners.

Under the Secure Vendor Program, packages to the three prisons in the trial program will be limited to those sent by specific approved vendors. The new restrictions on packages will restrict access to cosmetics, fresh produce, clothing, and toiletry items. The restrictions will also limit access to books, and books will now be available from just five certified vendors.

Among those five vendors, the selection of accessible books includes only religious books; coloring books; puzzle books; 11 how-to books on subjects like guitars and chess; a single dictionary; a single thesaurus; and five junk sex novels. No other books will be able to be sent to prisoners, which means that prisoners will not be able to choose other books either for entertainment or for educational purposes.

While more vendors are expected to be added to the list, the selection of books is likely to remain limited. Further, the new restrictions on packages will put an end to programs like Books Through Bars, which mails free books to prisons across the country to help ensure all prisoners who want reading material have access to it.

Restrictions on books could be devastating to all prisoners, especially those in solitary confinement who may rely on the books as their only source of connection with the world.  And while this affects only three prisons right now, there are expectations that the Secure Vendor Program will be implemented statewide by fall of 2018.

Programs restricting packages to prisoners will make prison life even worse for those incarcerated. If you are facing jail time, you should reach out to Albany criminal defense attorneys for help as soon as possible to try to ensure you do everything possible to reduce the chances of conviction.

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