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Why and How Drugs Are Divided Into Different Classes and Levels

The class of drug is typically included in the criminal charge for possession, sale or use. For examples, the charge would read, “Possession of a Class I drug for resale,” or “Possession of a Class II drug”. How They’re Classed While each agency determines which drugs fall into each schedule, class or level, they are [...]

When 12-Step Programs Don't Work For You

The 12-Step program is not the only method used in rehabs to assist addicts in getting clean and living sober lifestyles. Some rehabs accomplish the same goals through the following means: Medication Medications are available to assist with addiction. For Opiate addicts, the medication blocks Opiate cravings and in some cases will cause you to [...]

Caring for an Inmate, Even If You Can't Visit the Jail or Prison

Visits are a lifeline for most inmates, but if his jail is very far away, or there are other reasons that make it impossible for you to visit, there are other steps you can take to let him know he is not alone. Lots of mail: Even if you can’t write a letter each day [...]

The High Price of Jail Calls: Reducing the Cost of Long Distance Calls

If the jail where your inmate lives is far enough away that the calls from the jail are long distance, communication can become beyond your budget. Private companies provide services to jails for those calls by leasing telephone lines from Bell South or other phone companies and they pass the cost onto you while making [...]

Will They Let Me Drive an Inmate to the Doctor?

For the most part, any time a county jail inmate leaves a jail, official personnel transport him to medical appointments, but in some counties, depending on the circumstances, family members are allowed to provide the transportation. Each jail sets the rules. Here are some general guidelines: The severity of the crime comes into play. Obviously, [...]

Sentenced to 25 Years to Life: What Does it Mean?

A sentence of 25 to life is very open-ended and frequently, it’s not in the offender’s favor. If your boyfriend is facing a 25 to life sentence, the bad news is he could potentially spend the rest of his life in prison. The good news is that after 25 years he will be eligible to [...]

Staying Fit in County Jail: Walking and Jogging in the POD

When you’re locked up, your diet is not going to be the best when it comes to healthy, low-fat foods. This translates to weight gain unless you take steps to counteract the food’s effect on your body. While state prisons often have outdoor yards that contain exercise equipment, many county jails don’t even let the [...]

Can Inmates Receive Visitors While they are in the Hospital?

Most inmate medical needs are taken care of at the county jail through a doctor and nursing staff. Sometimes a health condition arises that requires hospitalization.  Hospital visitation rules depend on several factors: Jail rules: Some jails have a non-negotiable rule that inmates in the hospital cannot receive visitors. They consider it a security

Rejected for Inmate Visitation: Why did the jail tell me I can't visit?

You had your heart set on visiting an inmate but the jail has said you can’t?  Here’s why: A prior incident: If guards became suspicious of your behaviors during an earlier visit, but cannot prove you did something wrong, you will avoid a charge but be rejected for visits. For example, the guards suspect you [...]

Protective Custody in Prison: The Pros and Cons

Protective Custody can be a double-edged sword. It is a method for protecting an inmate from physical harm, but one the inmate is in PC (Protective custody), word spreads quickly and when the inmate is later placed back in general population, lots of people might have a problem. It is important to weigh the pros [...]

Why Can't I Put a Three-Way Call Through for an Inmate?

Your inmate might ask you to put a telephone call of his through to another person by using the three-way system. Most cell phones and landlines are set up so that three people can converse on one phone call. Jails around the country typically don’t allow this. Here are some of the facts. Why Do [...]

An Inmate Must Communicate With the Jail Nurses for Good Care

Due to HIPPA laws, most nurses will refuse to discuss your inmate’s medical condition with you unless the inmate provides prior written permission. It will be up to the inmate to work the system from inside. These steps will guide both the inmate and his family on the best way to get medical care while [...]

Five Ways to Avoid Violence in Jail or Prison

Jails and prisons can be violent environments, but there are things you can do to minimize your chances of confrontation and trouble. 1.  Show no fear – This doesn’t mean bullying. It means showing a quiet confidence. Always remain aware of your surroundings, but do it casually without looking nervous. How to build quiet confidence [...]

Inmate Criminal Charges: Can Inmates get Charged With Crimes in Jail?

In the movies, inmates commit crimes and nothing ever happens to them. In real life, committing a crime in jail will usually get the inmate a new criminal charge. Here is how it works. How will they establish what happened? The jail will investigate any suspected crime, just as if it happened on the outside. [...]

Jail Visits: Taking the Children With You to See Their Parent Inmate

If you want to take children to a jail visit, it is important that you plan ahead. Children’s moods, ages and personalities all play a part in how successful the visit will be. Take these steps to ensure success. Your timing: If you have young children, take their nap times into consideration. Nothing is harder [...]

Hundreds more 'Straight Up Answers'...

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Why and How Drugs Are Divided Into Different Classes and Levels

The class of drug is typically included in the criminal charge for possession, sale or use. For examples, the charge would read, “Possession of a Class I drug for resale,” or “Possession of a Class II drug”. How They’re Classed While each agency determines which drugs fall into each schedule, class or level, they are [...]

When 12-Step Programs Don't Work For You

The 12-Step program is not the only method used in rehabs to assist addicts in getting clean and living sober lifestyles. Some rehabs accomplish the same goals through the following means: Medication Medications are available to assist with addiction. For Opiate addicts, the medication blocks Opiate cravings and in some cases will cause you to [...]

Caring for an Inmate, Even If You Can't Visit the Jail or Prison

Visits are a lifeline for most inmates, but if his jail is very far away, or there are other reasons that make it impossible for you to visit, there are other steps you can take to let him know he is not alone. Lots of mail: Even if you can’t write a letter each day [...]

The High Price of Jail Calls: Reducing the Cost of Long Distance Calls

If the jail where your inmate lives is far enough away that the calls from the jail are long distance, communication can become beyond your budget. Private companies provide services to jails for those calls by leasing telephone lines from Bell South or other phone companies and they pass the cost onto you while making [...]

Will They Let Me Drive an Inmate to the Doctor?

For the most part, any time a county jail inmate leaves a jail, official personnel transport him to medical appointments, but in some counties, depending on the circumstances, family members are allowed to provide the transportation. Each jail sets the rules. Here are some general guidelines: The severity of the crime comes into play. Obviously, [...]

Sentenced to 25 Years to Life: What Does it Mean?

A sentence of 25 to life is very open-ended and frequently, it’s not in the offender’s favor. If your boyfriend is facing a 25 to life sentence, the bad news is he could potentially spend the rest of his life in prison. The good news is that after 25 years he will be eligible to [...]

Staying Fit in County Jail: Walking and Jogging in the POD

When you’re locked up, your diet is not going to be the best when it comes to healthy, low-fat foods. This translates to weight gain unless you take steps to counteract the food’s effect on your body. While state prisons often have outdoor yards that contain exercise equipment, many county jails don’t even let the [...]

Can Inmates Receive Visitors While they are in the Hospital?

Most inmate medical needs are taken care of at the county jail through a doctor and nursing staff. Sometimes a health condition arises that requires hospitalization.  Hospital visitation rules depend on several factors: Jail rules: Some jails have a non-negotiable rule that inmates in the hospital cannot receive visitors. They consider it a security

Rejected for Inmate Visitation: Why did the jail tell me I can't visit?

You had your heart set on visiting an inmate but the jail has said you can’t?  Here’s why: A prior incident: If guards became suspicious of your behaviors during an earlier visit, but cannot prove you did something wrong, you will avoid a charge but be rejected for visits. For example, the guards suspect you [...]

Protective Custody in Prison: The Pros and Cons

Protective Custody can be a double-edged sword. It is a method for protecting an inmate from physical harm, but one the inmate is in PC (Protective custody), word spreads quickly and when the inmate is later placed back in general population, lots of people might have a problem. It is important to weigh the pros [...]

Why Can't I Put a Three-Way Call Through for an Inmate?

Your inmate might ask you to put a telephone call of his through to another person by using the three-way system. Most cell phones and landlines are set up so that three people can converse on one phone call. Jails around the country typically don’t allow this. Here are some of the facts. Why Do [...]

An Inmate Must Communicate With the Jail Nurses for Good Care

Due to HIPPA laws, most nurses will refuse to discuss your inmate’s medical condition with you unless the inmate provides prior written permission. It will be up to the inmate to work the system from inside. These steps will guide both the inmate and his family on the best way to get medical care while [...]

Five Ways to Avoid Violence in Jail or Prison

Jails and prisons can be violent environments, but there are things you can do to minimize your chances of confrontation and trouble. 1.  Show no fear – This doesn’t mean bullying. It means showing a quiet confidence. Always remain aware of your surroundings, but do it casually without looking nervous. How to build quiet confidence [...]

Inmate Criminal Charges: Can Inmates get Charged With Crimes in Jail?

In the movies, inmates commit crimes and nothing ever happens to them. In real life, committing a crime in jail will usually get the inmate a new criminal charge. Here is how it works. How will they establish what happened? The jail will investigate any suspected crime, just as if it happened on the outside. [...]

Jail Visits: Taking the Children With You to See Their Parent Inmate

If you want to take children to a jail visit, it is important that you plan ahead. Children’s moods, ages and personalities all play a part in how successful the visit will be. Take these steps to ensure success. Your timing: If you have young children, take their nap times into consideration. Nothing is harder [...]

Hundreds more 'Straight Up Answers'...

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Comments 5

  1. Aquila Ray Thu, Jul 19 2012 9:47 AM

    I Miss U brother Corey Brown. This ya sis Aquila, call me at anytime @ my cell 267-401-8972 or my house 215-724-8548

  2. Shane Gill Fri, Feb 08 2013 2:00 AM

    What's it like to be in jail? I have a hearing soon and I'm scared I'm going to get sent to lockup. I've heard bad stories so can someone tell me if it's going to be terrible. Is Rikers a good jail and would my family get to visit me in person?

  3. NYC Dave Sat, Feb 09 2013 1:55 AM

    Hey Shane it's not that bad once you've been in for a week. You just keep thinking about what you've got waiting for you after you get out and just do your time and don't go back. Rikers Otis Bantum Correctional Center is pretty decent. Just check out the visitation information on the left of this page and it will tell you everything you need to know about how friends and family can visit you in Otis Bantum if that's where you get sent. Good luck man, but don't worry too much.

  4. Peter K. Sun, Feb 10 2013 9:23 AM

    Hi Shane - In some respects jail is what you make of it. Try to keep a positive attitude about it as much as possible. If you dwell on the negative and project your feelings of being afraid, others will pick up on it and you will attract trouble. Everyone likes the person who stays positive in a bad situation.

  5. Nelly Sat, Feb 16 2013 5:06 AM

    How many meals a day do immates get at Riker's Island? How good is the food they serve?

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Visiting an Inmate in the Rikers - Otis Bantum Correctional Center in New York

The New York City Department of Corrections recognizes the importance of keeping in touch with family members or friends during a period of incarceration, and they wholeheartedly encourage visitation periods. They have a number of programs to help ease the inmate back to society after their time in jail is up, and this includes these visitation periods to make their stay more endurable. As compassionate as they are about visitations and the general well-being of an inmate and their loved ones, they also have rules and guidelines to adhere to.

Visitations are from Wednesday through Sunday every week – absolutely no visitations are allowed on Mondays or Tuesdays. There are different schedules for visitations every month, so please visit this site to view a complete schedule to know when you can visit an inmate. Inmates can have up to 3 visitors during a single session, and they are permitted only one visitation a day.

In order to visit an inmate, you must register by the time posted on the aforementioned website in order to ensure your visitation period. The times can vary due to unforeseen circumstances. Also, if you are over 18, you are required to present a valid ID. A driver's license will do, but you can also use a state or government issued ID, a passport, or a military ID. See here for a complete list of acceptable IDs. Visitors under the age of 16 are not required to show ID, but they must be accompanied by someone over the age of 18. Individuals aged 16 or 17  with valid identification may accompany a child under the age of 16 if he or she is the parent of that child and the inmate being visited is also the parent of the same child.  In this case, the 16- or 17-year-old must produce a birth certificate for the child under the age of 16, as per New York City standards. Also refer to the aforementioned website for dress codes and what to bring and what not to bring during a visit. Please refer to this article if you have any more questions on any additional guidelines of a jail visit.

Visiting a family member or a loved one in jail is another way to keep the lines of communication open. A period of incarceration can be tough on friends and family, and especially for the inmate, but keeping in touch is very important. It's a part of the healing process during a difficult time such as this, and while these visits are definitely not under the most ideal of circumstances, they mean a lot to everyone involved.

RELATED: Rikers - Otis Bantum Correctional Ctr Inmate Search

RELATED: Rikers - Otis Bantum Correctional Ctr Inmate Services


writes about inmates, jails, prisons, courts and the lives of people who live and work within the United States Criminal Justice System. His mission can be summed up in a single word; transparency.

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How to use the Inmate Search for Rikers - Otis Bantum Correctional Center in New York

The Otis Bantum Correctional Center was named for the second warden who was in command at the time of his death, and it has a capacity of 1,697. Opened in June 1985, the OBCC was completed in only 15 months by using modern and efficient construction methods and modern designs. The OBCC has dormitory and cell housing, including the Department's 400-bed Central Punitive Segregation Unit.

If you have a friend or a family member currently incarcerated at Rikers Island in any one of its facilities, you can look them up easily. All you have to do is go to this website, and click on the "Inmate Lookup" link on the left hand side of the screen. It will direct you to the New York City Department of Corrections inmate lookup page. With this site, you have to be very specific on who you are looking for. You have to know the inmate's case number, or a full first & last name, as well as a date of birth in order to execute a successful search. Unlike many other search databases across the country, New York's search database is not for the curious or the intrigued; it is created for those specifically looking for an inmate.

The search database for the NYC Department of Corrections has been reported not to work on some occasions. There is an alternate way to look up an inmate by using the VINELINK inmate search, located here. It will give you a number to call if you want to look up an inmate, or for other inmate information. That number is 1-866-847-1298. It also provides e-mail notifications and other services. It also gives you a link to the New York State Department of Corrections, and you can execute a search that way. The only problem is that it is a statewide search, and since New York State has a very sizeable population (third in the nation, topped by California and Texas), locating your inmate may be a little difficult. However, it is possible to find who you are looking for with this system.

RELATED: Rikers - Otis Bantum Correctional Ctr Inmate Search

RELATED: Rikers - Otis Bantum Correctional Ctr Inmate Services


writes about inmates, jails, prisons, courts and the lives of people who live and work within the United States Criminal Justice System. His mission can be summed up in a single word; transparency.

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Communicating with an Inmate Housed at the Rikers - Otis Bantum Correctional Center in New York

The New York City Department of Corrections is very tough on crime – they don't mess around at all. Especially after September 11th, they don't leave any stones unturned. If they see a threat, they will nullify it! Despite their tough-as-nails approach to crime, they do allow inmates to send and receive mail. They understand that inmates are humans, too, as well as their families and loved ones.

In order to write a letter, you need the inmate's full name, the inmate's book and case number, and the full address of the facility they are housed in. Also, please apply the appropriate postage to ensure the inmate receiving your letter. 

The address for the Otis Bantum Correctional Center is:

Otis Bantum Correctional Center (OBCC)
16-00 Hazen Street
East Elmhurst, NY 11370

There aren't any restrictions on printed material or letters that you can send an inmate as far as how much you can send someone, but pornographic material and images deemed inappropriate will be confiscated. Also, if you choose to send photographs, there are also a few rules to follow: no Polaroid photos, nothing pornographic or inappropriate, and no pictures of the inmate –there have been reports about inmates using pictures of themselves to create fake passes in order to escape Rikers.

The staff at OBCC also allows you to send items and packages through the mail, so long as their guidelines are precisely followed. Permissible items may be mailed to the inmate, and they cannot exceed fifteen pounds. The packages must also be less than twenty-four inches (24") wide, twelve inches (12") high, and twenty-four inches (24") deep. For a complete list of what can be sent to an inmate via mail, please refer to this website. Please note that if you do knowingly send contraband to an inmate, you will be arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. As New York City is fairly liberal on what you can send to an inmate during their stay in jail, they also don't take their jobs lightly, so be cautious and respectful to their rules and regulations!

Writing and sending mail to an inmate keeps the lines of communication open, and it shows the inmate that you care for them. If you are a family member or a loved one, a period of incarceration can be very difficult and tough emotionally as well as physically, but sending letters is a good way to keep in touch during this period, and sending them items will make their time in jail somewhat easier. It always helps when you know someone has your back.

RELATED: Rikers - Otis Bantum Correctional Ctr Inmate Search

RELATED: Rikers - Otis Bantum Correctional Ctr Inmate Services


writes about inmates, jails, prisons, courts and the lives of people who live and work within the United States Criminal Justice System. His mission can be summed up in a single word; transparency.

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