According to recent reports , contraband within New York jails was a huge problem in 2022, and it will likely continue to be a problem in 2023. Reports say that many illegal items that were discovered within NYC jails were actually smuggled in by Correction Department staff members.
The Department of Investigation reported receiving 487 contraband complaints in 2022 compared to only 288 reports in 2021. That means contraband reports spiked by 69%, and that’s only the contraband that’s being reported. It’s very likely that far more contraband goes unreported than the contraband that does get reported by whistleblowers.
What makes this situation even worse is that the Department of Investigations confirmed how most contraband complaints involve Department of Correction staff members. Usually, it’s correction officers themselves who smuggle in illegal contraband. This fact makes it very difficult to prosecute and substantiate any claims. In fact, among the 288 contraband complaints filed in 2021, only 14 have been substantiated so far.
Another thing that makes investigating these complaints difficult is that often key informants get released from jail or transferred to a new jail before the investigation is completed. When that happens, the inmate is no longer able to assist with the investigation.
Among the most common types of contraband that was collected include dangerous shanks, illegal drugs, cell phones, and razor blades.
Contraband Crimes in New York
Contraband crimes are taken very seriously by law enforcement. Not only is bringing contraband into jail an illegal action, but it’s also very unsafe, too. It puts both inmates and correctional officers at risk. Per the law in New York, anyone who brings illegal contraband into a jail can be convicted of a class A misdemeanor. This crime is punishable by up to one year in jail and fines of up to $1,000.
If the contraband is determined to be dangerous, however, then the charges go up to a Class D felony. This serious crime is punishable by up to seven years in prison and fines of up to $5,000.
On top of facing criminal consequences, you could also face professional consequences if you were a correctional officer who brought contraband into the jail or prison. You may lose the ability to work as a correctional officer or in the corrections field in general. On top of that, a felony conviction could result in a loss of your rights. Felony convictions cause the loss of your right to vote, possess a firearm, run for public office, and more.
Are You Looking for Legal Representation?
The best way to avoid the consequences of a contraband-related charge is to avoid a conviction. If you’ve been accused of committing a contraband-related crime, then hiring a quality lawyer is a good decision because a lawyer can help you construct a solid defense strategy.
Are you currently looking for legal representation in New York? Our office can help. Schedule a case evaluation with our best attorneys now to discuss your situation in more detail.