Visiting an inmate in New York City

Visiting Applications and Rules for Visiting New York City/Rikers Island Inmates

When a family member or close friend goes to jail and cannot be bailed out immediately, one of the first things people want to do is visit the inmate.  Before you can visit your inmate in one of the jails in New York City or Rikers Island you will need to know a few important things:

  • All visitors who are over 16 are required to present a valid photo ID that also contains a signature.  Acceptable forms of identification are a current valid driver's license, employment ID that includes a photo and signature, a state identification card, a passport, U.S. Military ID, or resident alien/permanent resident card issues by the United States Department of Justice.
  • All minors must be accompanied by an adult.  If the minor is under 16 years old they will not be required to provide identification.
  • All visitors must pass through a metal detector and may be searched upon entering into the visitation area.
  • Never try to give the inmate an unauthorized item during visitation.  This will result in disciplinary actions and possible criminal charges against you.
  • Never bring drugs, or weapons into a correctional facility, this will result in your arrest.
  • You are allowed to bring personal items into an inmate as long as they adhere to the criteria outlined here.  You are allowed to bring certain jewelry, clothing, and stationary supplies but they must not violate the departments directive found here.

Dress Code for Visitors of New York City Jails and Rikers Island Facilities

For the safety and security of visitors, inmates, and staff, all visitors are required to follow a strict dress code.  Failure to follow the dress code will result in a denial of visitation.  We recommend you always bring a change of clothes that you leave in your car just in case an item of clothing you are wearing is deemed inappropriate you will be able to quickly change.

  • When visiting you must refrain from talking to other visitors and inmates other then the one you are their to visit.
  • Visitors may only wear a single layer of clothing when they enter the visiting area.  Multiple layer clothing is not allowed as it can be used to smuggle contraband.
  • Any pants, shorts, skirts, or dresses must come no higher than three inches above the knee.
  • No clothing is allowed if it has holes or rips above the knees.
  • No hats, sunglasses or items that cover the face are allowed to be worn, unless it is for religious purposes (in which case it may still be removed and searched).
  • Do not wear jewelry to visitation, it can set off the metal detector and is generally not allowed.
  • Bathing suits and swim attire is not allowed, this includes flip-flops, sandals and slippers.
  • Visitors may not wear Spandex or leggings unless they are covered by additional clothing that comes to no more than three inches above the knees.
  • You may not visit while wearing coats, shawls, jackets, gloves, ponchos, or vests.  Dressing in layers is not allowed.
  • Any clothing that exposes the midriff, back, shoulders, cleavage, thighs or other excessive skin is not allowed.
  • Sheer and see-through clothes are not allowed.
  • Clothing that contains offensive language or images is prohibited.
  • Uniforms, including doctors, nurses, military etc are not allowed to be worn for security reasons.
  • Clothing that is gang related is prohibited.
  • Hooded clothes are not allowed.
  • All visitors are required to wear underwear.
  • Cover up garments will be provided if an item of clothing you are wearing violates the dress code, refusal to wear it will result in a denial of visitation.

If you have a question, or have already visited an inmate in a New York City Jail and would like to share your experience, or if you know of some other useful information related to visiting an inmate in New York City, leave us a comment below.