Contraband Seized at Correctional Facility Calls for Secure Vendor Program

February 25, 2020, Ogdensburg, NY –As contraband continues to flow into correctional facilities across the state,  New York State Correctional Officers & Police Benevolent Association (NYSCOPBA) was joined by Assemblyman Mark Walczyk in calling on New York State Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) to implement the Secure Vendor Program to stem the flow of drugs getting into facilities.

The call for action comes after contraband was seized by officers in two separate incidents at Riverview Correctional Facility last week.

On Wednesday, February 19, an officer assigned to the package room was processing a package for an inmate when he noticed a package of sausages that had been tampered with.  Upon further inspection,  the officer found 12 latex balloons that had been stuffed inside of six sausages.  The balloons contained a green leafy substance that later tested positive for Synthetic Marijuana, commonly known as K2.  The drugs weighed just under an ounce and a half.

The package was mailed from Bellerose, NY.

On Saturday, February, 22, an officer discovered five cans of corn and peas mailed to an inmate that had been tampered with.  He x‐rayed the cans and discovered six latex balloons inside.  Five of the balloons contained six ounces of K2.  The sixth balloon contained 10 ceramic blades wrapped in wax paper.

The drugs and ceramic blades were processed as evidence.

The package was mailed from the Bronx, NY.

Contraband has risen to historic levels in correctional facilities across the state.  In 2019, 4200 pieces of contraband were seized by staff compared to 3600 just five years prior.

“Inmates are getting more and more creative as they continue to try and have drugs smuggled into correctional facilities, and officers are using every tool in their arsenal to snuff out this tidal wave of contraband being sent to inmates,” said Assemblyman Mark Walczyk.  “The time is now for the state to seriously look at implementing a Secure Vendor Program.  This program would no doubt drastically crackdown on weapons, drugs and other contraband that gets smuggled to inmates.  We can’t wait for a tragedy to happen.  DOCCS needs to reinstate the Secure Vendor Program now.” 

“Consistently contraband makes its way into our correctional facilities despite the collective efforts of staff.  It is either mailed in through packages or comes in through inmate visits.  DOCCS needs to implement the Secure Vendor Program immediately.  They hastily suspended the pilot program two years ago for no legitimate reason.     The program would help reduce the number of dangerous drugs and weapons that wind up in the hands of inmates.  It would not only make the prisons safer for staff but for inmates as well, and that should be DOCCS most important priority.” – stated Michael Powers, NYSCOPBA  President.

NYSCOPBA and Assemblyman Mark Walczyk have been vocal about making state prisons safer for officers and inmates.  Recently, Assemblyman Walczyk and State Senator Patty Ritchie introduced legislation that would call on the state to place a drug-sniffing K9 in every correctional facility in New York with a minimum of 100 inmates.