senate Bill S3341

2013-2014 Legislative Session

Expands definition of dangerous contraband to include telecommunications and electronic recording devices

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Archive: Last Bill Status - In Committee


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor

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Actions

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Assembly Actions - Lowercase
Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
Jan 08, 2014 referred to codes
Feb 01, 2013 referred to codes

S3341 - Bill Details

Current Committee:
Law Section:
Penal Law
Laws Affected:
Amd §205.00, Pen L
Versions Introduced in Previous Legislative Sessions:
2011-2012: S3782
2009-2010: S5865

S3341 - Bill Texts

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Defines dangerous contraband to include telecommunications and electronic recording devices.

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BILL NUMBER:S3341

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the penal law, in relation to expanding
the definition of dangerous contraband to include telecommunications and
electronic recording devices

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: This bill would amend subdivision 4 of Penal Law
("PL") § 205.00, which contains the definitions of terms that are refer-
enced in PL Article 205, relating to offenses committed when someone is
in custody. It would add "telecommunications or electronic recording
device" to the existing definition of "dangerous contraband", and would
be applicable to a number of devices that would be proscribed by virtue
of PL § 205.25 ("Promoting prison contraband in the first degree").

JUSTIFICATION: Correctional systems throughout the world are witnessing
the proliferation of contraband cell phones and other telecommunications
devices. While these devices are getting smaller in size, the number of
features that they have are ever expanding. Today's cell phone capabili-
ties go well beyond allowing a user to make and receive calls, which is
dangerous enough in a prison situation. Cell phones have the ability to
send and receive text messages, record and transmit photographs and
video, all of which can have catastrophic consequences within a prison
setting. Inmates can circumvent the safeguards and controls imposed on
their communications, including monitoring of call content or call
numbers, call blocking, and prohibitions against all calls where they
pose a threat to safety and security. With such unlimited access,
inmates can organize escapes by alerting outside individuals to prison-
ers' movements, or sending images of secure areas. Additionally, inmates
may use cell phones to harass witnesses and victims, interfere with
juries, and maintain outside illegal activity. Compounding the problem,
the FCC prohibits the common methods of interfering or blocking, which
would help to reduce the dangers of cell phone use within the prisons.

A frightening and very real example of what can happen has in fact
happened in Brazil. Cell phones were smuggled into prisons and used to
organize riots at 29 prisons. The result: 15 people were killed and
8,000 guards and relatives were held hostage. In Ontario, an inmate was
charged with running a drug ring from prison. Britain, Thailand, India,
and Japan have all reported incidents of cell phones being discovered in
their prisons. In the united States there are at least ten states that
are contemplating enacting or have already adopted statutes making it a
crime to possess or introduce electronic devices into their detention
facilities: Arkansas, Colorado, Tennessee, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Missis-
sippi, Ohio, Louisiana, Texas, and Illinois.

It is critical to public safety that all possible measures are advanced
to deter the introduction and possession of this type of contraband.
This bill would ensure that such conduct is Punishable as a felony under
Penal Law § 205.25. currently, violation of Penal Law § 205.20 ("Promot-
ing prison contraband in the second degree") is punishable as a misde-
meanor unless the item introduced or possessed is "dangerous contra-

band", which is defined in § 205.00(4) as "contraband which is capable
of such use as may endanger the safety or security of a detention facil-
ity or any person therein" and is punishable as a D felony under
205.25. While it is beyond debate that telecommunications devices and
electronic recording devices fit within that definition, it is important
to eliminate any ambiguity in connection with the interpretation of the
statute. This proposal sends an important message to the public and to
the inmate population that promoting such contraband will not be toler-
ated and will be punishable as a felony.

Accordingly, the Mayor urges the earliest possible favorable consider-
ation of this proposal by the Legislature,

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2009-10: S.5865 - Passed Senate

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the ninetieth day after
enactment.

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                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                  3341

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                            February 1, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sen. HASSELL-THOMPSON -- read twice and ordered printed,
  and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Codes

AN ACT to amend the penal law, in relation to expanding  the  definition
  of  dangerous  contraband to include telecommunications and electronic
  recording devices

  THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND  ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section 1. Subdivision 4 of section 205.00 of the penal law is amended
to read as follows:
  4.  "Dangerous  contraband"  means contraband which is capable of such
use as may endanger the safety or security of a  detention  facility  or
any  person therein, WHICH SHALL INCLUDE, BUT NOT BE LIMITED TO, A TELE-
COMMUNICATIONS OR ELECTRONIC RECORDING  DEVICE.  FOR  PURPOSES  OF  THIS
SUBDIVISION, A "TELECOMMUNICATIONS OR ELECTRONIC RECORDING DEVICE" MEANS
ANY TYPE OF INSTRUMENT, DEVICE, MACHINE OR EQUIPMENT THAT IS DESIGNED TO
TRANSMIT  AND/OR  RECEIVE  TELEPHONIC,  ELECTRONIC, DIGITAL, CELLULAR OR
RADIO SIGNALS OR COMMUNICATIONS OR ANY PART OF SUCH INSTRUMENT,  DEVICE,
MACHINE OR EQUIPMENT, AS WELL AS ANY TYPE OF INSTRUMENT DESIGNED TO HAVE
SOUND OR IMAGE RECORDING ABILITIES AND SHALL INCLUDE, BUT NOT BE LIMITED
TO, A CELLULAR OR DIGITAL PHONE, A PAGER, A TWO-WAY RADIO TEXT MESSAGING
OR  MODEM  DEVICE (INCLUDING MODEM EQUIPMENT DEVICES), A CAMERA, A VIDEO
RECORDER AND TAPE OR DIGITAL RECORDING DEVICES, OR ANY OTHER DEVICE THAT
HAS SAID CAPABILITIES.
  S 2. This act shall take effect on the ninetieth day  after  it  shall
have become a law.



 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD06421-01-3

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