Sending Mail to Inmates in New York
Correspondence between inmates and their friends and family members is encouraged by the New York Department of Correction. Mail is opened, read, and inspected for contraband with the exception of legal mail which may still be opened and inspected (not read) in the presence of the inmate. Offenders may not correspond with anyone who has an Order of Protection out against them or anyone who is on their negative correspondence list.
Offenders can also receive 4"x6" photos. The photos may not be instant or Polaroid photos as these present a security problem. No photos may contain nudity. Additionally, inmates may receive up to five pages of photocopied or printed material. An inmate may request to receive in excess of this once every four months if they need to receive legal documents or a transcript relating to an active case the offender is a party to (the correspondence must be received within 30 days of request). If you cut out a newspaper article to send to an inmate you are not allowed to glue, tape, or paste it to a sheet of paper.
Do not send an inmate stamps, these must be purchased from the commissary by the inmate.
Always include your complete return address when sending mail to an inmate, and format the inmate's address as follows:
Inmate Name, Inmate's DIN (Department Identification Number)
PO Box or Street address
City, State, Zip Code
Inmates are also allowed to receive two food packages each month not to exceed 35 pounds. Additionally, offenders can receive non food items that will not be counted against the food package limit. These packages can be received through the package room. Non-food packages may contain items such as clothing, tobacco, toiletries, art supplies etc. The inmate must have enough room in their personal belongings to receive the items. For a list of allowable items click here. Inmates who are housed in the SHU or have disciplinary infractions against them may have lost package privileges. Furthermore, inmates who are located in the following facilities may only receive two food packages per year:
- Five Points
- Southport Cadre
- Great Meadow
- Upstate Cadre
How to Send Books and Magazines to Inmates in New York State Prisons
Friends and family members may also send their inmate books, magazines, and newspapers from Amazon.com. All books must be paperback and new. No publications may contain nudity, maps, or describe how to manufacture drugs, alcohol, or weapons. Publications that put the safety, security, and order of the institution at risk will be rejected. If you want to learn more about sending these items to an inmate you can read about it here.
Sending Money to Inmates in New York State Prisons
Inmates can receive funds from friends and family members in the form of a United States Postal Money Order. These monies can be used for purchasing items through the commissary, but only if the offender has no outstanding debts/financial obligations (this includes court surcharges, and fee's).
Mail the funds directly to the offender by using a United States Postal Money Order, made payable to the inmate's full committed name and DIN (department identification number). Your complete name and address must be legible on the money order. Funds that come in from unidentifiable sources are treated as contraband.
You can also deposit up to $50 per day in person before a visiting session.
Inmates receive a print out of their account activity monthly. At no time can account balances or deposit information be disclosed to anyone other than the inmate.
For more information on sending funds to an inmate, read our guide here.
New York Inmate Phone Calls
All inmates have an approved telephone list with up to 15 numbers. Only an offender can add or delete a number from their call list. If you are receiving unwanted calls from an inmate you can contact the facility in writing and asked to be placed on the offender's Negative Correspondence list. Generally, inmates are allowed to make calls daily between 7am-11pm. Calls are limited to thirty minutes in duration, and may be restricted to 10 minutes if many offenders are waiting to use the phones. All calls may be recorded and monitored. Three way calling and call forwarding is strictly prohibited.
Inmates are only allowed to make outgoing collect calls.
You may be able to drastically reduce your inmate phone bill by setting up your account with a number local to the facility. Learn more about how you can save money on your inmate phone calls.