TARRYTOWN, N.Y. -- In an effort to keep contraband from entering New York correctional facilities, state Assemblyman Tom Abinanti (D-Greenburgh/Mt. Pleasant) has introduced legislation to ban the use of drones near state jails.
“The use of drones near correctional facilities could jeopardize the safety and security of everyone at the correctional facility,” said Abinanti. “The bill will help to prevent dangerous contraband from entering our prisons”.
The bill would ban the use of drones within 1,000 feet of a correctional facility. Those who violate the law would face a civil penalty of $1,000 for their first offense and a misdemeanor for each additional offense.
Earlier this month, the Westchester County Board of Legislators passed similar legislation to ban drones near the Westchester County jail and penitentiary.
Abinanti said the need for the legislation was highlighted in August 2016 when a drone successfully dropped cigarettes, marijuana, and heroin on the premises of Mansfield Correctional Institution in Ohio.
Inmates fought over the package and nine were placed in solitary confinement. The same month, authorities stopped an attempt to use a drone to deliver drugs, pornography, and firearms to a Maryland facility, he added.
“Correctional facilities personnel cannot tell from a distance whether a flyover drone is dangerous," said Abinanti. “When the drone is overhead, it may be too late.”