Intro 741 was passed by the NYC Council!
fighting to stop nyc from using incarcerated people and their loved ones to generate revenue
For years, New York City, like many other cities, has generated revenue off of the people incarcerated in its local jails and the communities that support them.
In 2017, the city generated $22.6 million in telephone call commissions, commissary and vending machine sales, and disciplinary ticket fines. While some of these revenues merely cover the cost of products purchased for the incarcerated population, many translate into pure profits to the city. And though these profits are an incredibly small portion of the city's $1.4 billion correctional budget, they represent a substantial portion of the limited resources of the economically distressed communities targeted by its jail system.
On June 15, 2018, the New York City Council adopted the FY 2019 budget and, like prior years, it included over $20 million in expected revenues from directly-impacted communities. Despite the budget season evading us, there was still an important bill on the table that would help address a significant segment of these profits. Introduced by Speaker Corey Johnson, Intro 741 makes telephone calls from New York City jails free and prohibits the City from collecting revenues on the provision of telephone services.
Working alongside half a dozen New York City advocacy organizations, we fought tirelessly for the legislation. On July 18, 2018, the New York City Council voted 42 - 3 to pass Intro 741. Now, we wait for Mayor De Blasio to sign it into law.
- Prisoners at Rikers Will be Able to Make Phone Calls for Free Under Legislation Passed in City Council, Daily News
- NYC Passes Bill to Make Phone Calls Free for Inmates in City Jails, Pix 11
- Legislation Would Make Phone Calls from Jail Free, WNYC
- City Must Stop Using Incarcerated People as Revenue Source, Gotham Gazette
- NYC Could Be Required to Provide Inmates With Free Telephone Calls, Observer
Directive #4911A has been suspended!
PROTECTING INCARCERATED people AND THEIR LOVED ONES FROM commercial PACKAGE vendors
In December of 2017, the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (NYS DOCCS) released Directive #4911A, amending the rules governing prison packages.
The directive, which went into affect as a pilot program in Greene, Green Haven, and Taconic Correctional Facilities in early January, prohibited families, friends, and organizations from sending packages directly to anyone who is incarcerated. Instead, it required them to use six approved private vendors who generally sell low quality items at exploitative prices. The directive also prohibited the purchase of fresh fruit and vegetables and direct donation of new and used books.
Expected to roll out to all NYS DOCCS facilities by the fall of 2018, Governor Andrew Cuomo suspended the Secure Vendor Pilot Program after just 10 days following public backlash. But as a coalition of directly-impacted people and other criminal justice advocates, we are pushing forward for the full termination of this exploitative program.
- Cuomo Halts a Controversial Prison Package Policy, The New York Times
- New York Cancels Private Prison Care Packages Program, The Marshall Project
- What Can't You Send to an Inmate in New York? Apples, Used Books and More, The New York Times
- New York Makes it Harder for Inmates to Get Books, The New Yorker
- The Latest Big Win for Prison Privatization, The Marshall Project
Sing Sing's Gun Buyback
A collaboration with sing sing correctional facility and voices from within
In 2012, a group of men at Sing Sing Correctional Facility raised nearly $8,000 from among 1,600 prisoners to launch a gun buyback with the NYPD. Their donor match fell through and consequently they fell short of the minimum amount needed to get the initiative off the ground.
Please help these men, now collectively known as Voices From Within, raise the matching funds necessary to finally launch this gun buyback. If successful, it could remove approximately 100 to 200 guns off New York City streets. Your contribution demonstrates your support for the twin goals of improving public safety and promoting second chances.
Thanks to Yusef Kassim and friends for their generous matching commitment of $3,895.