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  #1  
Old 01-08-2018, 02:40 PM
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Default New policy in New York allows prisoners to receive only 77 specific books

New policy in New York allows prisoners to receive only 77 specific books. 24 are coloring books

"A new program in New York is cutting people in prison off from all books except five romance novels, 14 religious texts, 24 drawing or coloring books, 21 puzzle books, 11 how-to books, one dictionary, and one thesaurus.

Directive 4911A, which was issued last month, currently applies to three prisons in the state and could be expanded to every facility in New York. The plan limits packages that incarcerated people in New York state prisons can receive to items purchased from five vendors, a move the state’s Department of Corrections and Community Supervision claims will “enhance the safety and security of correctional facilities through a more controlled inmate package program.”

https://thinkprogress.org/new-york-b...-83efefb676bc/
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Old 01-08-2018, 03:58 PM
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What the hell?? Not even educational books can be sent in, even from a bona fide book store?

What are they trying to do, dumb down the prison populace?

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Limiting book availability also goes against the clear, researched link about education in prison and lower rates of recidivism, Peterson said Monday.
Damn tootin'. I'd be up in arms if they tried pulling this crap at a local facility.

Last thing we need is to deprive prisoners of new information and knowledge...

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Old 01-08-2018, 04:10 PM
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Many states use package vendors and disallow personal packages, so that part I get. But even then we're allowed to send books from Amazon (though that was sticky for a bit) and Barnes and Noble. This feels like a violation of rights rather than a security concern.
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Old 01-08-2018, 04:23 PM
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So, if they have a prison library, will it just contain 20 titles?! Totally absurd, and probably will not withstand challenge.
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Old 01-08-2018, 04:51 PM
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This part disturbs me,

"The 4911A directive would mean that people in prison would have, as Books Through Bars wrote in a statement objecting to the policy before the sixth vendor was added, “[n]o Jane Austen, Ernest Hemingway, Maya Angelou, or other literature that helps people connect with what it means to be human. No texts that help provide skills essential to finding and maintaining work after release from prison. No books about health, about history, about almost anything inside or outside the prison walls. "
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Old 01-08-2018, 05:04 PM
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In NY they have access to well stocked libraries that subscribe to the Mcnaughton book system, just as in outside library. They also participate in the inter- library loan system where in they locate a book in the nys book loan system, and it gets sent by ANY outside library that possesses it.
The directive pertains to outside purchased books which routinely are carriers for contraband.
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Old 01-08-2018, 05:21 PM
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The directive pertains to outside purchased books which routinely are carriers for contraband.
Plenty of states manage incoming books from approved vendors without risk of contraband and no need to limit purchases to package company options.

This is the lazy and unnecessarily punitive.
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Old 01-08-2018, 05:41 PM
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Yes, I can see banning books from like third-party Amazon sellers or even used bookstores who are often just individuals selling out of their homes who might be more likely to introduce contraband, but brand new books directly from Amazon itself or any other major bookstore? What's the harm in that?

On the other hand, one "compromise" solution I wouldn't be opposed to is if prisons started offering e-books like through one of their fancy tablet systems. Where prisoners could buy or rent through a kiosk system like they already can for music and electronic games in many facilities. In fact, it's kind of ironic that they do allow all those fancy-schmancy entertainment options in jails/prisons already, where you can buy/download pretty much any song out there under the sun, but I've yet to hear about e-books being offered on a similar wide scale.
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Old 01-08-2018, 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Nickel Timer View Post
Yes, I can see banning books from like third-party Amazon sellers or even used bookstores who are often just individuals selling out of their homes who might be more likely to introduce contraband, but brand new books directly from Amazon itself or any other major bookstore? What's the harm in that?

On the other hand, one "compromise" solution I wouldn't be opposed to is if prisons started offering e-books like through one of their fancy tablet systems. Where prisoners could buy or rent through a kiosk system like they already can for music and electronic games in many facilities. In fact, it's kind of ironic that they do allow all those fancy-schmancy entertainment options in jails/prisons already, where you can buy/download pretty much any song out there under the sun, but I've yet to hear about e-books being offered on a similar wide scale.
Agreed. E books would be the best. Amazon has 3rd party sellers, and has been somewhat problematic. Hopefully, these vendors expand inventory when they understand the vast array of interest. It's only in 3 facilities so far, and you can imagine the chaos.
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Old 01-08-2018, 06:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Nickel Timer View Post
Yes, I can see banning books from like third-party Amazon sellers or even used bookstores who are often just individuals selling out of their homes who might be more likely to introduce contraband, but brand new books directly from Amazon itself or any other major bookstore? What's the harm in that?

On the other hand, one "compromise" solution I wouldn't be opposed to is if prisons started offering e-books like through one of their fancy tablet systems. Where prisoners could buy or rent through a kiosk system like they already can for music and electronic games in many facilities. In fact, it's kind of ironic that they do allow all those fancy-schmancy entertainment options in jails/prisons already, where you can buy/download pretty much any song out there under the sun, but I've yet to hear about e-books being offered on a similar wide scale.
NYS is still in the prehistoric age. Cassette tapes, typewriters, etc. With the budgetary concerns, I highly doubt they would pump money into wiring up the buildings for Wi-Fi and kiosks.
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Old 01-08-2018, 07:14 PM
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NYS is still in the prehistoric age. Cassette tapes, typewriters, etc. With the budgetary concerns, I highly doubt they would pump money into wiring up the buildings for Wi-Fi and kiosks.
From what I understand, those kiosks (in place already in many facilities) don't use WiFi -- instead you have to interface your device directly into the kiosk, or download your stuff onto a memory card. It would just be a matter of upgrading the kiosks to support new content. And it wouldn't cost the state anything -- it's all paid by the vendors. The subsequent sales pay for the equipment.

It just seems if they're already willing to spend the money on kiosks at many places, they least they could do is offer a decent selection of books through them as well. You'd think one of the majors like Amazon or Barnes & Noble would jump on the opportunity to partner for such a venture, if any prison vendor ever got serious about offering e-books along with the music and games you can already download onto such tablets at so many facilities already.
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Old 01-08-2018, 07:18 PM
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From what I understand, those kiosks (in place already in many facilities) don't use WiFi -- instead you have to interface your device directly into the kiosk, or download your stuff onto a memory card. It would just be a matter of upgrading the kiosks to support new content. And it wouldn't cost the state anything -- it's all paid by the vendors. The subsequent sales pay for the equipment.

It just seems if they're already willing to spend the money on kiosks at many places, they least they could do is offer a decent selection of books through them as well. You'd think one of the majors like Amazon or Barnes & Noble would jump on the opportunity to partner for such a venture, if any prison vendor ever got serious about offering e-books along with the music and games you can already download onto such tablets at so many facilities already.
That is interesting. I thought they ran off Wi-Fi and such.
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Old 01-09-2018, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Nickel Timer View Post
From what I understand, those kiosks (in place already in many facilities) don't use WiFi -- instead you have to interface your device directly into the kiosk, or download your stuff onto a memory card. It would just be a matter of upgrading the kiosks to support new content. And it wouldn't cost the state anything -- it's all paid by the vendors. The subsequent sales pay for the equipment.

It just seems if they're already willing to spend the money on kiosks at many places, they least they could do is offer a decent selection of books through them as well. You'd think one of the majors like Amazon or Barnes & Noble would jump on the opportunity to partner for such a venture, if any prison vendor ever got serious about offering e-books along with the music and games you can already download onto such tablets at so many facilities already.
The number of prisons nationwide may not offer the means to use electronic media as you're suggesting. Some have only had access to emailing system in recent years.
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Old 01-09-2018, 12:43 PM
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The number of prisons nationwide may not offer the means to use electronic media as you're suggesting. Some have only had access to emailing system in recent years.
Yes, and those are the kiosks I'm talking about that many prison systems have in place already.

They are run by vendors like JPay, where you can not only e-mail but also buy and download music to your personal tablets through those kiosks as well.

See: http://www.jpay.com/pmusic.aspx
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Old 01-09-2018, 01:14 PM
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If readers here are believing this hype from the far left ultra liberal "Think Progress," I'll make you a hell of a deal on oceanfront property I own in Kansas or a bridge I own in Brooklyn.

Come on, people. Granted, DOCCS is experimenting with eliminating outside packages from family and friends altogether (hence Directive 4911A as existing), but there is no way in hell DOCCS will ever limit an inmate's opportunity to read books of his or her choice, provided that reading material is not summarily banned by the media review committee for being racist or promoting violence (the two big no-nos).

If the approved -vendor-only policy does become effective state-wide - and even that is still up in the air - doubtless is that adequate arrangements will be made with Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or some other reputable book source, to allow inmates to receive reading material that interests them.

And an afterthought: Although I am by no means pro DOCCS, I must interject that DOCCS would have no reason whatsoever to be experimenting with eliminating packages from family and friends if not for the fact that it has been family and friends that gave DOCCS incentive to through their secreting weapons and drugs in packages. It's akin to someone flushing their cell phone down the toilet and then complaining they can't make or receive calls.

We reap the fruit of the seeds we sow. Does anyone really expect that DOCCS would continue allowing packages from family and friends who pack them with contraband?

And then there's cause to be thankful ... for being in the comparatively humane NY prison system versus FL, AL, LA and MS, where the hacks are still murdering inmates with state sanctioned licenses to do so.
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Old 01-09-2018, 01:34 PM
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If readers here are believing this hype from the far left ultra liberal "Think Progress," I'll make you a hell of a deal on oceanfront property I own in Kansas or a bridge I own in Brooklyn.

Come on, people. Granted, DOCCS is experimenting with eliminating outside packages from family and friends altogether (hence Directive 4911A as existing), but there is no way in hell DOCCS will ever limit an inmate's opportunity to read books of his or her choice, provided that reading material is not summarily banned by the media review committee for being racist or promoting violence (the two big no-nos).

If the approved -vendor-only policy does become effective state-wide - and even that is still up in the air - doubtless is that adequate arrangements will be made with Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or some other reputable book source, to allow inmates to receive reading material that interests them.
It isn't hype if it's happening. As of right now, there is no allowance for vendors (Amazon, B&N) to service inmate book purchases per 4911A. "Doubtless" is a dicey position to be in. I see nothing wrong in drawing attention to the plans of any DOC changing a policy before it's made.

For what it's worth, I was surprised to learn there were states that still allowed personal packages. I can completely understand the disallowance of that practice.
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Old 01-09-2018, 02:56 PM
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It isn't hype if it's happening. As of right now, there is no allowance for vendors (Amazon, B&N) to service inmate book purchases per 4911A. "Doubtless" is a dicey position to be in. I see nothing wrong in drawing attention to the plans of any DOC changing a policy before it's made.

For what it's worth, I was surprised to learn there were states that still allowed personal packages. I can completely understand the disallowance of that practice.
4911A is a pilot program that overall looks dicey. The vendors they selected I have purchased from them and the stuff was not allowed even though you select the location and a few items come up for their prison.

Food was another issue. The vendors claim the individual prisons need tonlet them know because there are some places more selective than others. But, there are a few things that are universal they are not allowed and they still sell them. They are not packaged properly, so no place will accept them.

I don't foresee a smooth transition with this. I read through he directive many times because it is very confusing.

It is supposed to go into effect this June. There are some still fighting it. Who knows?
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Old 01-09-2018, 02:58 PM
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4911A is a pilot program that overall looks dicey. The vendors they selected I have purchased from them and the stuff was not allowed even though you select the location and a few items come up for their prison.
Yeah, that shouldn't happen. That's something I've been grateful for. The two companies I've used for Cali specify the weight restriction, the timing, the number of items allowed per his classification so I don't have to worry about it.
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Old 01-09-2018, 04:09 PM
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NYS is still in the prehistoric age. Cassette tapes, typewriters, etc.
Stuck in the dark ages? In some areas (e.g., vocational programs offerings) I'd agree. There aren't many meaningful opportunities outside prison walls for lawn mower mechanics or floor buffer operators.

Cassette tapes for recorded music? True. The reason it has thus far stayed away from CDs is the laser technology that could easily be used to cut through steel bars to facilitate escape (think Clinton).

Typewriters? True also ... as for personal in-cell use. But most NY prisons now have word processors in the law libraries for inmate use.

But how far back in the dark ages is NY stuck?

NY is one of only four states that allow conjugal visits. It is one of only 23 states that permit inmates to attend college, and one of just a few that has partnered with colleges offering advanced degrees. It is also one of just several states that teach inmates asbestos remediation and actually license the inmates to work i that high-paying field upon release. It also offers an ophthalmological program too, parenthetically.
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Old 01-09-2018, 04:14 PM
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Stuck in the dark ages? In some areas (e.g., vocational programs offerings) I'd agree. There aren't many meaningful opportunities outside prison walls for lawn mower mechanics or floor buffer operators.

Cassette tapes for recorded music? True. The reason it has thus far stayed away from CDs is the laser technology that could easily be used to cut through steel bars to facilitate escape (think Clinton).

Typewriters? True also ... as for personal in-cell use. But most NY prisons now have word processors in the law libraries for inmate use.

But how far back in the dark ages is NY stuck?

NY is one of only four states that allow conjugal visits. It is one of only 23 states that permit inmates to attend college, and one of just a few that has partnered with colleges offering advanced degrees. It is also one of just several states that teach inmates asbestos remediation and actually license the inmates to work i that high-paying field upon release. It also offers an ophthalmological program too, parenthetically.
This part of the conversation was in reference to ibooks, tablets, digital music, games etc.
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Old 01-09-2018, 09:17 PM
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I think that they are perfectly serious about this and may have received legal advice on how much exactly may be barely enough from a legal standpoint. At most, they may find that they need to make the list a little longer.

They are reducing their workload, reducing the need to make any judgment calls or defend them (they can just point out that these are the rules now) and they cannot be accused of discrimination since the same rules apply to everybody. By the way, this is exactly what equality often looks like in reality: equally lousy conditions for everybody.

On the other hand, if it can be argued that inmates have the right to have books, it is not clear how much is enough, if barely. This limited list, or some updated list, may be all it takes to be able to show that inmates do, in fact, get books, and not just one or two. At least that's what those who made the rules or those who advised them must have thought.
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Old 01-09-2018, 09:41 PM
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Turner v. Safely, 482 U.S. 78 (1987). Book access will not be curtailed.
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Old 01-09-2018, 10:21 PM
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Where does it say that book access will not be curtailed? It does mention Bell v. Wolfish, for example. What does "curtailed" even mean? That's the thing. It is actually permitted to a limited extent. It was a cynical calculation: it's not zero, and a limited list like that may be just what it takes.
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Old 01-09-2018, 10:44 PM
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Reading material is constitutionally protected. Period.

Reading material will remain accessible in same volumes and subject matter as always.

"Curtail" ... synonomous to limit, restrict or minimize. Google could have told you even better.

Last edited by ConCraft; 01-09-2018 at 11:13 PM..
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Old 01-09-2018, 11:09 PM
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I knew perfectly well the meaning of the verb "curtail", thank you very much. This is not the point. Where exactly was it even used anyway?
https://supreme.justia.com/cases/fed...2/78/case.html (Turner v. Safley, where I have not found it)

It is not possible, reasonable or safe to allow access to absolutely everything. Therefore, I'm still wondering if those decision-makers have made that kind of cynical calculation about what might be the bare minimum they can get away with. At the very least, they may get away with it for a while, or so they probably think.
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