Cellphones and pot found in Attica package

At least four corrections officers were injured last week after an inmate attacked them at Attica Correctional Facility. It’s the second such incident reported in as many days by NYSCOPBA.

ATTICA — What was supposed to be canned vegetables mailed to an inmate turned out to be more worrisome for staff at Attica Correctional Facility.

A corrections officer was processing packages when he noticed six cans of vegetables were significantly underweight, according to the New York State Correctional Officers & Police Benevolent Association, the union representing corrections officers.

Upon further inspection, the officer noticed the tops of the cans had been resealed. The cans were then X-rayed and several objects were found inside.

When the officer opened the cans, he discovered nine vacuum-sealed bags containing 8.3 ounces of marijuana. Then he found two cellphones, two chargers, two USB cords, one SIM card and two earbuds.

The electronic devices were wrapped separately from the marijuana in vacuum-sealed bags.

The contraband was seized as evidence, NYSCOPBA officials said. It had been mailed to an inmate from a Pennsylvania address.

NYSCOPBA has been calling on the state for years to reinstall the Secure Vendor Program, due to what it describes the proliferation of drugs coming into prisons through inmate mail. It said repeated requests have been denied with no reasonable explanation.

Contraband seized at prisons statewide has regularly exceeded 4,000 over the last five years and is on similar pace for 2021, NYSCOPBA officials said.

“If this latest contraband seizure doesn’t open the eyes of DOCCS officials of the immediate need to reinstall the Secure Vendor Program, nothing ever will,” said Western Region Vice President Mark Deburgomaster in a news release. “Staff, on a daily basis, do a great job of stopping drugs and other contraband from getting into the hands of inmates.

“The discovery of cell phones along with electronic accessories is a direct threat to the safety of the prison,” he continued. “In the hands of inmates, cell phones can be used for a number of criminal enterprises. They are a direct threat to the safety of everyone inside the prison.”

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