Promoting Prison Contraband First Degree NY

An inmate in a detention facility who "knowingly and unlawfully ... possesses any dangerous contraband" is guilty of promoting prison contraband in the first degree, a felony (Penal Law 205.25 [2]). Contraband is dangerous if it "is capable of such use as may endanger the safety or security of a detention facility or any person therein" (Penal Law 205.00 [4]). The language of the statute is broad and encompasses any item of contraband that could be used in a manner that may pose a danger to the safety of other inmates or staff, or the security of the facility. The statute emphasizes the potential for danger arising from a particular use of the contraband. Some items of contraband, such as weapons, by their very nature, pose an obvious and immediate danger to the safety and security of a facility and thus clearly fall with the definition of dangerous contraband (see People v. Stanley, 19 AD3d 1152, 1153, 796 NYS2d 767 [4th Dept 2005], lv denied 5 NY3d 856, 840 NE2d 145, 806 NYS2d 176 [2005]; People v. Brown, 2 AD3d 1216, 1217-1218, 769 NYS2d 657 [3d Dept 2003], lv denied 3 NY3d 637, 816 NE2d 198, 782 NYS2d 408 [2004]). If the contraband at issue is not inherently dangerous, however, the People must present specific, competent proof from which the trier of fact may infer that use of the contraband could potentially create a dangerous situation inside the facility (see Stanley, 19 AD3d at 1153; Brown, 2 AD3d at 1218).