Sending Mail to Inmates in New York City Jails/Rikers Island
Inmates located in a New York City Jail or Rikers Island are allowed to receive letters, photos, and packages, as long as they adhere to the rules. All mail must include the inmate's full name, and the inmate's Book and Case Number. If you do not know the inmate's book and case number you can look it up by using the inmate search on our site. You must also put the full name and address of the facility.
Mail you send to an inmate should be formatted as follows:
Inmate's Full Name
Book and Case Number
PO Box or Street address
City, State, Zip Code
Photos should be no larger than 4"x6". Additionally, the photos cannot contain a picture of the inmate, at no point may an offender possess or receive an image of themselves. For security reasons Polaroid photographs (instant photos) are not allowed.
The New York City Department of Corrections allows offenders to receive a package with allowable items. It must not weigh more than 15 pounds, and must be less than 24" wide x 12" high x 24" deep. You may not send toiletries and food, these are prohibited. Many items are prohibited or have specific stipulations which is why we suggest you read over the departments directive on packages here.
How to Send Books and Magazines to Rikers Island/New York City Inmates
Inmates in a New York City Jail, or at Rikers Island may receive books, magazines, newspapers,and other printed material as long as it does not exceed the limit of one cubic foot of space. A cubic foot is 12"x12"x12". You can order books and magazines directly from Amazon.com and have them shipped to the inmate's mailing address. Be sure to include the inmate's full name, as well as the inmate's Book and Case number. If you want to learn more about sending these items to an inmate read about it here.
Sending Money to Inmates in New York City Jail/Rikers Island
Inmates can receive funds from friends and family members in a variety of ways. These funds are placed in the inmate's account and can be used to purchase items from the commissary.
You can send funds to an offender by:
- Walk In
Before you can send the funds you will need to know the following information:
- The Inmates Name
- The Inmates Book and Case Number
- The current location of the inmate
Deposit by Walk In
You can deposit money to an inmate's account in person by visiting the Kiosk at a Department of Corrections cashier office or by depositing the funds directly through the cashier's window. No fee is imposed if you deposit the money directly through the DOC cashier's window.
Deposit by Internet
You may also deposit funds to an inmate's account through a company called Jpay. You can accomplish this by either visiting their website at Jpay.com, or you can search for your inmate on the NYC.gov/doc website. Once you find your inmate you can click on the send money button. Follow the instructions to send your funds. A fee is imposed when sending funds through the internet.
Deposit Funds Over the Phone
You can also deposit funds over the phone through Jpay or through Western Union. You can reach Jpay at 1-800-574-5729 and can reach Western Union at 1-800-325-6000.
For more information on sending funds to an inmate, read our guide here.
New York City/Rikers Island Inmate Phone Calls
Inmates are allowed to make outgoing collect calls. At no time can you initiate the telephone call with an inmate. All calls are subject to recording and monitoring, unless you are an attorney, physician or clergy member and specifically request for you calls to be on the Do Not Record List, read more about it here.
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.
How to Post Bail for Inmates in Rikers Island and New York City Jails
Bail can be posted by using several different methods. You may post bail by using cash for the exact full amount (change is not given). You may also post bail with a Cashier's check for the exact amount of the bail. You can also use bank or postal money orders but an individual money order must not exceed $1,000.
If you are paying bail through the Brooklyn Detention Complex, Vernon C. Bain Center, or the Manhattan Detention Complex you will make the check(s) or money order(s) payable to the facility (even if the inmate is not housed there). If you are paying bail at a Rikers Island Facility you will make the payment payable to "Rikers Island Central Cashier" or "RICC". Whoever is posting the bail will also need to provide valid identification and know the New York State Identification Number (NYSID) of the inmate, not the book and case number. You can find the NYSID number by doing an inmate search.