Rules & Regulations

Packages and Articles Sent or Brought to Institutions (Part 724 of 7 NYCRR)

Date filed with the Department of State (DOS): 6/13/2007

DOS #: COR-24-07-00008

Date adopted: 9/12/2007

Description: Repeal of Part 724 and addition of a new Part 724 to Title 7 NYCRR which updates policy and procedure for receiving, handling, searching and disposing of packages and articles received by inmates at correctional facilities.

TEXT OF RULE

PACKAGES AND ARTICLES SENT OR BROUGHT TO INSTITUTIONS

Part 724 is hereby repealed and a new Part 724 added as follows:

§ 724.1 Description

This Part establishes the policy of the department concerning packages and articles sent or brought to facilities and received through facility package rooms.

§ 724.2 Applicability

(a) This Part applies to all inmates except for those:

(1) assigned to a special housing unit or in special housing status (see Chapter VI of this Title), or under sentence of death;

(2) in reception or in-transit status; or

(3) housed in a shock incarceration facility, drug treatment campus, alcohol and substance abuse treatment or work release facility except as may be specifically authorized and limited by the deputy commissioner for correctional facilities.

(b) This Part applies to inmates housed in facilities wherein the inmate population has elected to possess personal television sets, however, package privileges for such inmates are restricted in accordance with the department’s directive on inmate television sets.

§ 724.3 Policy

(a) General.

(1) The commissioner may, at his discretion, suspend all or any portion of this Part at any or all facilities.

(2) No changes shall be made in the application of the provisions of this Part without the expressed authorization of the deputy commissioner for correctional facilities.

(3) Articles received in a package that are not for the inmate's personal use or which cause the inmate recipient to exceed in-cell limits will not be allowed. When an inmate signs for a package, he or she will attest that the articles are only for personal use and that receipt will not cause the inmate to exceed personal property limits. If an inmate refuses to sign for a package, it will be disposed of in accordance with the departmental directive on inmate personal property limits.

(4) For the purposes of this Part, the value of an article shall be the actual purchase price, not including any tax, shipping or handling.

(5) Except as provided below, an article received by an inmate under any previous version of this Part which is no longer on the listing of allowed items may be retained by that inmate for only as long as the inmate remains at his or her current facility. A disallowed article must be disposed of prior to transfer in accordance with the departmental directive on inmate personal property limits. Such article may not be given to or transferred to another inmate. An inmate will be permitted to retain electronic devices received under a previous version of this Part (i.e. devices without clear cases) if transferred to a new facility, but may not transfer ownership to another inmate under any circumstances.

(6) Where an article received under this or any previous version of this Part is subsequently declared prohibited by order of the deputy commissioner for correctional facilities, it must be disposed of in accordance with the departmental directive on inmate personal property limits. There shall be a three month grace period for articles in an inmate's possession which subsequently become prohibited, unless otherwise specified by the deputy commissioner for correctional facilities. However, if the prohibited article represents a threat to the safety or security of the institution, the inmate shall be required to dispose of it immediately. In no case shall an inmate be allowed to possess a prohibited article upon transfer to another facility.

(7) The department is not responsible for articles damaged in shipping or received in spoiled condition. Spoiled food articles or items which are contaminated or in broken or leaking containers are considered a health risk and will be destroyed by the facility. Such destruction will be recorded on the inmate's package records.

(8) All return-to-sender packages must be recorded on the appropriate package record form, and in the department’s visitor/package registration database.

(b) Searches of Packages.

(1) Packages shall be searched thoroughly to ensure that all articles conform to regulations. Articles will be removed from the original shipping container (box or bag in which the package was shipped or brought into the facility) and inspected visually and/or by use of the x-ray machine. In searching and examining packages, care shall be taken not to damage or destroy the contents. The shipping container (bag or box) will not be given to the inmate.

(2) Absent security concerns, original product packaging will not be opened or removed. If there are security concerns, e.g. if abnormalities are detected in x-rays, packaging, feel or texture, weight, labeling, etc., then the contents of individual articles may be removed from the originally sealed packaging for the inspection process. Food articles may be transferred to clear plastic bags or other appropriate containers. Absent security concerns, original labels that show product information (e.g. expiration date, ingredients, warranty, quantity, etc.) shall be preserved with their related products.

(3) Promotional materials (e.g. prizes, informational discs, etc.) or other non-product items or substances sealed within original packaging or attached to an allowed article will be removed prior to issue. These materials will be disposed of in accordance with the departmental directive on inmate personal property limits.

(4) Inspection and processing of religious articles shall be conducted in such a manner as to respect their religious significance. If an article's religious significance is in doubt, the facility chaplain shall be consulted. If an article is suspected of being contraband, it may be tested as appropriate. Articles which are considered or suspected of being contraband or which are under evaluation for authenticity or religious significance shall be secured by the deputy superintendent for security pending disposition and notification of the affected inmate. If the inmate files a grievance within 21 days of receipt of a notice that an article has been denied, such religious article shall be retained by the facility pending the final resolution and closing of the grievance.

(5) Contraband. Contraband articles shall be confiscated and the superintendent or designee notified. Contraband will include any article:

(i) which possession of is prohibited under any law applicable to the general public;

(ii) which is readily capable of being used to cause death or serious physical injury, including but not limited to handguns, shoulder guns, cartridges, knives, explosives, or dangerous drugs; or

(iii) which has been introduced into a correctional facility with the intent to transfer it to an inmate without the permission of the superintendent or his or her designee.

(6) Articles not permitted (other than contraband).

(i) When any article which is not permitted is brought by a visitor, it will be returned to the visitor, if possible, upon the visitor's departure from the facility.

(ii) In the case of other articles not permitted, except for any article brought by a visitor and returned to the visitor upon departure from the facility, general confinement inmates (non-restricted inmates) will be given the opportunity to view the disallowed article and then choose a disposal option by signing an authorization for disposal form. If the choice is to ship the article, the inmate will fill out a disbursement form for the cost of the shipping. The package room will send out the package and forward the disbursement form to the business office for processing. If funds are available, the facility business office will deduct the amount of the disbursement from the inmate's account. If funds are not available, the business office will establish an encumbrance for the amount of the disbursement.

(iii) Articles not disposed of or articles brought by a visitor but not returned to a visitor within 14 days will be destroyed or donated to a charity by the facility. It is clearly not the department’s intent to give each inmate 14-days (except as provided in this subdivision) to choose a disposal option, requiring storage by the facility. It is the intent that an inmate be given a clear notice that an article is not permitted and a clear opportunity to choose how such an article will be disposed of.

(7) Articles will not be altered or modified by the manufacturer or vendor, except for removal of external radio antennas. Articles will not be altered or modified once they arrive at the facility in order to comply with the specifications set forth in this Part.

(8) If an item is not listed as allowable, the item will not be issued to the inmate and the decision to withhold it is not reviewable under this Part. However, if an item is listed as allowable but was not issued because, in the opinion of processing staff, it did not meet applicable specifications regarding size, cost, ingredients, property limits, color, etc., the inmate may request a review of that decision. The inmate must first complete an authorization for disposal form, and a disbursement form if appropriate, identifying the item to be reviewed and the disposal option desired. The area supervisor shall then review the item in question during the course of scheduled rounds. The inmate's presence is not required. Upon completion of the review, the supervisor shall sign and date the authorization for disposal form and indicate whether the item is to be allowed and issued to the inmate or disallowed and processed for disposal. A copy of the completed authorization for disposal form will then be forwarded to the inmate. Note: If the inmate refuses to complete and sign the form, no review will be conducted and the item will be disposed of as disallowed property in accordance with the departmental directive on inmate personal property limits.

(c) Food Packages. Inmates may receive two packages a month containing foodstuffs, the combined weight of which shall not exceed 35 pounds. Food packages received both from visitors and through the mail shall be included in the two package limit.

(d) Packages by Mail (U.S. Postal Service, UPS, FedEx, etc.).

(1) Incoming.

(i) An inmate may receive a package through the mail from anyone who is not on a negative correspondence or vendor list.

(ii) A package which does not have a return address will not be delivered to the inmate. The unopened package will be first x-rayed for contraband. The package will then be opened. If any contraband is found, it will be processed in accordance with the departmental directive on contraband and any remaining contents disposed of as directed by the deputy superintendent for security. If no contraband is found, the inmate will be given the option to send the package out at his or her expense or to have it destroyed. In all cases, the disposition of the package will be recorded on an authorization for disposal form and the inmate's package record.

(iii) A package from a commercial vendor must bear the return address as affixed or printed (not handwritten) by the vendor. A package from a non-commercial source must bear a return address that includes the sender’s first and last name.

(2) Outgoing.

(i) All packages sent from a facility at an inmate's request, including surplus, non-allowed or transferred articles, shall be processed through the package room. All expenses shall be borne by the inmate.

(ii) All packages sent from a facility shall be receipted by the carrier. If a receipted carrier is not used, the inmate must insure the package in order to get a receipt.

(iii) The inmate may also be required to pay for a shipping container approved by the U.S. Postal Service.

(iv) Articles which require repair or service may only be sent to a vendor or business which is not on a negative vendor or correspondence list and which is recognized as providing the needed repair or service. Repairs and service will not be done in the facility except where authorized by the superintendent (e.g. at a State-run repair shop) and strictly controlled.

(v) An inmate wishing to send a package or gift to a relative incarcerated in another department facility must obtain authorization from his or her assigned correction counselor and approval of the facility superintendent, contingent upon agreement by the receiving facility superintendent. Note: The transfer of funds and art and craft products between inmates is governed by the departmental directive on inmate charitable contributions and gifts.

(e) Art and Handicraft Supplies. Art and handicraft supplies may only be received through a facility package room where a specific list of approved articles has been posted by the superintendent of that facility. Such materials will only be admitted under local permit and made available for the inmate's use through the hobby shop or other system of control.

(f) Packages from Visitors.

(1) A visitor may bring a package only for the inmate he or she is visiting. It must be presented at the gate prior to the visit. The visitor must successfully complete visitor processing before a package will be processed. Visitors that have been denied visiting privileges will not be allowed to leave packages.

(2) Visitors to correctional camps shall normally be permitted to share foods brought into the facility with the inmates they are visiting, at the discretion of the superintendent.

(3) Packages shall not be accepted from visitors during their attendance at special events.

(g) Package Records.

(1) All articles received shall be recorded on package forms with the sender's name and address and the name and department identification number (DIN) of the inmate recipient.

(2) The inmate shall be requested to sign a departmental form listing any single article received which has a verified value of more than $20.00. Any article priced or valued at over $20 must be accompanied by the seller's original receipt or bill. A copy of this form will be filed in the package room folder and a copy given to the inmate. These articles include but are not limited to the following:

Art and handicraft supplies Hair dryer/blow dryer/curling iron
Authorized religious apparel Footwear
Audio equipment Jewelry
Bedspread Musical instruments
Calculator Rug/prayer rug
Clothing articles Sun glasses
Electric shaver/razor Typewriter
Electronic devices Watch & Watch band
Gloves (baseball mitt, handball, bag)  

(3) A current listing of "local permits" issued per section 724.4 below shall be maintained by the facility in the package room.

(4) Special Watch Notations. A notation shall be made on an inmate's package room record if:

(i) a sender to that inmate attempts to transmit contraband within a package;

(ii) an inmate has been found in possession of contraband that was determined to have been received within a package; or

(iii) an inmate has been found guilty of drug-related misbehavior.

These notations shall alert staff to take appropriate precautions to prevent smuggling of drugs, drug paraphernalia, or other contraband in subsequent packages. However, any notations which correspond to disciplinary proceedings against an inmate or his or her visitor but which are later dismissed or reversed must be expunged from the inmate's package room records.

(h) Loss of Package Privileges.

(1) Packages received for an inmate serving a disciplinary disposition which includes "loss of package privileges" will be handled as follows:

(i) Packages brought by visitors - shall be returned to the visitor.

(ii) Packages received by mail.

(a) From a publisher - shall be given to the inmate subject to the provisions of section 712 of this Title, "Media Review."

(b) From other commercial sources

(i) If ordered by the inmate and approved by the business office prior to the disciplinary disposition, the package shall be issued to the inmate. Otherwise, the package shall be returned to sender.

(ii) If ordered by family or a correspondent, the package shall be handled as set forth in clause (c) below.

(c) From All Other Sources

(i) If received during first 5 days of "loss of packages" - shall be delivered to the inmate unless the inmate has been confined in a special housing unit.

(ii) If received after first 5 days of "loss of packages," - shall be returned to sender unopened.

(2) An inmate who orders a package while under a loss of package disposition will have the package returned to sender and will be responsible for any expense associated with return of the package.

(i) Packages received for inmates in SHU.

(1) Pending disciplinary action, or during first 5 days of a "loss of packages" disposition: Package items, except for books, periodicals, legal materials and perishables, shall be placed in the inmate's property and added to the inmate's property transferred inventory form; books, periodicals and legal materials may be given to the inmate subject to the limitations in Chapter VI of this Title, but perishables shall be disposed of in accordance with the departmental directive on inmate personal property limits.

(2) Serving a disciplinary disposition, or after the first 5 days of a "loss of packages" disposition: The inmate will be afforded package privileges in accordance with Chapter VI of this Title.

(j) Packages received for inmates transferred or temporarily absent from the facility.

(1) Transfer.

(i) During processing for transfer, the inmate will be directed to indicate on the inmate’s property transferred inventory form whether he or she will pay for postage to forward any package received within fourteen days at the sending facility. If the inmate elects to pay for package forwarding, he or she shall also sign a disbursement form marked "postage due." If the inmate fails or refuses to indicate his or her choice or hasn't signed a disbursement form, packages received will be returned to sender.

(ii) A copy of the property transferred inventory form and signed disbursement form shall be maintained in a file at the sending facility. Whenever a package is received for an inmate no longer at the facility, package room staff shall check the form to determine the inmate's choice.

(iii) Any package received after fourteen days from the inmate's date of transfer will be returned to sender. Where a package is received within fourteen days and the inmate has indicated that he or she will pay forwarding postage and has signed a disbursement form, the shipping facility will absorb the cost of shipping from its postage appropriation and ship the package, and send a copy of the inmate's property transferred inventory form and the signed disbursement form to the office of inmate accounts at the inmate's new facility.

(iv) Upon receipt at the inmate's new facility, the forwarded package will be issued in accordance with the provisions of this Part. If funds are not available to process the disbursement, the inmate's account will be encumbered for the owed amount. When any encumbrance is fully collected, the collecting facility will use the funds collected to refund its own postage appropriation.

(v) Packages must not be forwarded to inmates at work release facilities but returned to sender.

(2) Temporary absence (out-to-court or at a hospital).

(i) A package for an inmate who is temporarily absent shall be x-rayed. If the package contains perishables, it shall be returned to sender. If no perishables are found, the package shall be stored by the facility unless it is determined that the inmate is likely to be absent in excess of 14 days.

(ii) Where the inmate is expected to be or has already been absent in excess of 14 days, the matter shall be referred to the deputy superintendent for security to determine if the package should be held longer or returned to sender.

§ 724.4 Local Permits

(a) Certain articles cannot be approved department-wide because of programmatic and physical plant characteristics of individual facilities. In order that those locations which can accommodate special articles are not governed by those which cannot, each facility may consider the issuance of "local permits" in accordance with the following:

(1) Local permits for articles so marked and listed in this directive require the approval of the facility superintendent, but do not require the approval of the deputy commissioner for correctional facilities.

(2) Local permits for articles not listed in this directive require the recommendation of the facility superintendent and the approval of the deputy commissioner for correctional facilities. Such recommendations shall include:

(i) Identification of the article for which a local permit is recommended;

(ii) The superintendent's rationale for the recommendation; and

(iii) Specific terms and conditions regarding the use of the article as prescribed in paragraph (5) below.

(3) Any article approved by local permit shall be clearly identified by mark or label and a record of such identification maintained by the facility. The original permit shall be maintained in the inmate's package records and a copy given to the inmate. The inmate must retain his or her copy of the permit to protect the privilege of retaining this article.

(4) By signing the local permit, the inmate shall indicate his or her understanding that the permit is valid only in his or her current facility and, in the event that he or she is transferred and cannot obtain a local permit for the article at his or her subsequent location, the article must be disposed of at his or her expense.

(5) The local permit shall specify the terms and conditions regarding the use of the article (with respect to program and periods or locations in which the article may be used) and indicate that failure to adhere to such terms and conditions may result in the revocation of the permit. If a permit is revoked, the article will be confiscated and disposed of at the inmate's expense in accordance with the departmental directive on inmate personal property limits. The inmate's signature shall indicate his or her agreement with these terms and conditions.

(b) Each superintendent is required to maintain a current list of all approved local permits to include:

(1) Identification of inmate;

(2) Identification of the article;

(3) Identification of the approving authority; and

(4) Date of approval by the deputy commissioner for correctional facilities.

§724.5 Listing of approved items.

(a) The department shall promulgate a detailed listing of items approved for receipt by inmates through facility package rooms. This listing shall be appended to the departmental directive #4911, “Packages and Articles Sent or Brought to Institutions,” made available to inmates in all facility libraries, posted in all facility package rooms and visiting rooms, and posted on the department’s website at www.doccs.ny.gov/directives/4911.pdf

(b) This listing only identifies items which may be received through the package room and sets forth the conditions and restrictions for receipt of those items; this listing is not a comprehensive list of all items that an inmate may be authorized to possess.

(c) This list will be periodically updated and amended, consistent with the needs of the department.

Changes in the proposed text are indicated by underlining new text and [bracketing] text to be deleted. Rules that are new are presented as regular text without underlining or brackets. New and/or repealed rules are noted in the description heading at the top of the document.

The complete listing of New York Codes, Rules, and Regulations (NYCRR) is available online through the NYS Department of State website.