As a result of massive community pressure and opposition, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has just announced that he is directing the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) to “rescind its flawed pilot program that restricted shipment of books and care packages” to people imprisoned. Alarmingly, Cuomo continues on to say that the state will “redouble efforts to fight prison contraband.” Soon after the governor’s comment, DOCCS spokesperson Thomas Mailey issued a statement with a much weaker message, claiming “the Governor has directed the Department to suspend this pilot program.”


To refer to the pilot program as “flawed” is to belittle its maliciousness. These restrictions, as laid out in Directive #4911A, are nothing short of oppressive, exploitative, and hostile toward imprisoned people and their support systems. A mere suspension leaves the door open to a kind of tinkering that will surely shift one outrageous policy into another. Since DOCCS first announced their intention to implement the restrictions, Critical Resistance NYC has been receiving testimonies from people imprisoned in New York State who have been especially skeptical of these appeals to “fight prison contraband”:


“The government claim that the aim is to reduce contraband is hogwash,” noted Keith. “Like the recent taking of our hoodies, and almost everything else, a false claim of security matters.”


“Within DOCCS, once they pull the ‘security issue’ card, it’s pretty much a one-sided battle,” wrote Ron. “It’s not about the packages, it’s about the profits.”


“They’re just using that as an excuse to take everything from us,” wrote Jimmy. “Last year they took the cans from us and all hooded sweatshirts to keep us warm outside for the winter – but we see what they are doing and they keep taking and taking.”


Critical Resistance will remain alert to impending developments and will continue to fight for the absolute elimination of this directive. At this time we urge all of our friends to take these steps:

  • Keep the pressure on the governor and DOCCS!


Write/call Governor Cuomo:
The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224
Call: 518-474-8390


Write/call Acting DOCCS Commissioner:
Anthony Annucci
Acting Commissioner
Department of Corrections and Community Supervision
1220 Washington Ave
Albany, NY 12226
Call: (518) 457-8134


I understand that DOCCS has temporarily suspended Directive #4911A and I demand that the directive be eliminated entirely and permanently. Restricting packages to pre-approved vendors serves to exploit imprisoned people, their families, and their support systems. Through this suspension, the state admits that the pilot program’s now month-long run was unacceptable and ill-intentioned. You cannot allow this pilot program to resume in any form.

Thank you,
Your Name