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Get a Special Visit If You Live Far From the Jail

The logistics of visiting an inmate who is incarcerated very far from where you live can be tricky. If the jail has very short visits or requires a specific visitation registration processes, it makes it even more difficult. Some jails make exceptions for those who must travel to visit the inmate. How Far is Far? […]

Parental Visitation: Know the keys to Helping Your Child Visit Their Parent in Jail

Children typically desire contact with their parents, even if a parent is incarcerated, so learn the ropes to keep the connection going: Keep it Simple Depending on the age of the child, you can explain without going into too much detail, why the parent is in jail. Preschool to elementary kids – Let them know […]

How Does a Bail Bond Process Work?

Many states allow defendants to be released from jail to wait for court by paying a percentage of the total bond amount. Percentages range from 10 to 20 percent depending on state law. Understand how the process works to help someone who's been arrested. What is a Bond? A bond is an amount of money […]

Can I Visit an Inmate if I am on Probation or Parole?

A friend or family member has been arrested and this has created chaos and stress. Before you race off to visit him or her in jail, if you are on probation or parole you need to take the following steps. Find out the Rules Some jails will not allow anyone on probation or parole to […]

What Does a 15 Years to Life Sentence Mean?

A sentence of 15 years to life, 25 years to life or similar sounding words all mean the same thing. The only difference is the time frame. What the Number Means The number in the sentence indicates the minimum number of years the inmate must serve before he or she can be considered for parole. […]

Consequences of Providing Contraband to an Inmate

It is never a good idea to mail contraband to an inmate or to bring it on a visit. The consequences for such actions are serious not only for the inmate, but also for you. What is Contraband? Contraband is anything that inmates are not allowed to have in their possession. Obvious examples are weapons, […]

Voting Rights for Felons in Alabama

The state of Alabama allows felons to have their voting rights restored under the following guidelines. You must have completed your entire sentence, including incarceration, probation, and parole, or community supervision. Once completed, you have three options: Contact your local parole or probation office Write to the Board of Pardons and Parole

Maine Marijuana Laws: Decriminalized but Still Tricky

Decriminalizing Pot doesn't always mean it is completely legal. Here are some current guidelines. Possession Unlike several other states that chose an ounce as the cutoff for a civil penalty, Maine allows you to possess up to 2.5 ounces and still receive a civil ticket. The fine is a flat $600 regardless of the amount. […]

4 Good Places to Find Prison Pen Pals

Learn About Them Through friends. If you know someone who is incarcerated or has a family member incarcerated, ask for the name of an inmate who might like having a pen pal. This is an excellent way to meet pen pals because they can give a personal recommendation. Use Pen Pal Sites. There are several […]

Can a Felon Possess a Gun In Georgia?

Georgia law is very clear on its position regarding convicted felons in that state owning or possessing firearms: It follows the federal law when it comes to guns and felons. The Basics: With the exception of a felony conviction that is non-violent and related exclusively to a business-related crime, if you have ever been convicted […]

Getting a Felon's Voting Rights Restored in Massachusetts

Voting is one of the most fundamental rights given to American citizens, but that right can be lost if you're a convicted felon. It's up to the each state to decide their laws about restoring rights. The laws for Massachusetts include: If You're Charged If you've been charged with a crime, but have not yet […]

Massachusetts Marijuana Laws

Decriminalizing Marijuana doesn't always mean it is completely legal. In some cases, such as in Massachusetts, possession of less than an ounce is no longer a crime but is now a civil offense. Possession It is a civil offense to possess one ounce or less of Marijuana. If found guilty the fine is $100. In […]

Can a Felon Own a Gun In New Mexico?

Generally speaking, federal law makes it a crime for a convicted felon to own or possess a gun or ammunition. If you were convicted of a federal felony crime, you must receive a presidential pardon if you are to ever own a firearm again. Some states, however, have specifically designed laws regarding felons convicted of […]

Why Doesn't An Addict Get Clean After Overdosing?

As told by an addict who overdosed and almost died twice before giving up drugs. How often did you get high before you overdosed? By the time I overdosed the first time, I was getting high on a daily basis. I no longer took drugs to enjoy a high. I took them to avoid being […]

When the Newness of Sobriety Wears Off

Sobriety is like a love relationship. When you start out, everything is exciting and new. When I first got clean, everything I read, saw and heard about sobriety was very attractive to me. I spent my free time getting to know it in the same way I would get to know a new woman. The […]

Hundreds more 'Straight Up Answers'...

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Get a Special Visit If You Live Far From the Jail

The logistics of visiting an inmate who is incarcerated very far from where you live can be tricky. If the jail has very short visits or requires a specific visitation registration processes, it makes it even more difficult. Some jails make exceptions for those who must travel to visit the inmate. How Far is Far? […]

Parental Visitation: Know the keys to Helping Your Child Visit Their Parent in Jail

Children typically desire contact with their parents, even if a parent is incarcerated, so learn the ropes to keep the connection going: Keep it Simple Depending on the age of the child, you can explain without going into too much detail, why the parent is in jail. Preschool to elementary kids – Let them know […]

How Does a Bail Bond Process Work?

Many states allow defendants to be released from jail to wait for court by paying a percentage of the total bond amount. Percentages range from 10 to 20 percent depending on state law. Understand how the process works to help someone who's been arrested. What is a Bond? A bond is an amount of money […]

Can I Visit an Inmate if I am on Probation or Parole?

A friend or family member has been arrested and this has created chaos and stress. Before you race off to visit him or her in jail, if you are on probation or parole you need to take the following steps. Find out the Rules Some jails will not allow anyone on probation or parole to […]

What Does a 15 Years to Life Sentence Mean?

A sentence of 15 years to life, 25 years to life or similar sounding words all mean the same thing. The only difference is the time frame. What the Number Means The number in the sentence indicates the minimum number of years the inmate must serve before he or she can be considered for parole. […]

Consequences of Providing Contraband to an Inmate

It is never a good idea to mail contraband to an inmate or to bring it on a visit. The consequences for such actions are serious not only for the inmate, but also for you. What is Contraband? Contraband is anything that inmates are not allowed to have in their possession. Obvious examples are weapons, […]

Voting Rights for Felons in Alabama

The state of Alabama allows felons to have their voting rights restored under the following guidelines. You must have completed your entire sentence, including incarceration, probation, and parole, or community supervision. Once completed, you have three options: Contact your local parole or probation office Write to the Board of Pardons and Parole

Maine Marijuana Laws: Decriminalized but Still Tricky

Decriminalizing Pot doesn't always mean it is completely legal. Here are some current guidelines. Possession Unlike several other states that chose an ounce as the cutoff for a civil penalty, Maine allows you to possess up to 2.5 ounces and still receive a civil ticket. The fine is a flat $600 regardless of the amount. […]

4 Good Places to Find Prison Pen Pals

Learn About Them Through friends. If you know someone who is incarcerated or has a family member incarcerated, ask for the name of an inmate who might like having a pen pal. This is an excellent way to meet pen pals because they can give a personal recommendation. Use Pen Pal Sites. There are several […]

Can a Felon Possess a Gun In Georgia?

Georgia law is very clear on its position regarding convicted felons in that state owning or possessing firearms: It follows the federal law when it comes to guns and felons. The Basics: With the exception of a felony conviction that is non-violent and related exclusively to a business-related crime, if you have ever been convicted […]

Getting a Felon's Voting Rights Restored in Massachusetts

Voting is one of the most fundamental rights given to American citizens, but that right can be lost if you're a convicted felon. It's up to the each state to decide their laws about restoring rights. The laws for Massachusetts include: If You're Charged If you've been charged with a crime, but have not yet […]

Massachusetts Marijuana Laws

Decriminalizing Marijuana doesn't always mean it is completely legal. In some cases, such as in Massachusetts, possession of less than an ounce is no longer a crime but is now a civil offense. Possession It is a civil offense to possess one ounce or less of Marijuana. If found guilty the fine is $100. In […]

Can a Felon Own a Gun In New Mexico?

Generally speaking, federal law makes it a crime for a convicted felon to own or possess a gun or ammunition. If you were convicted of a federal felony crime, you must receive a presidential pardon if you are to ever own a firearm again. Some states, however, have specifically designed laws regarding felons convicted of […]

Why Doesn't An Addict Get Clean After Overdosing?

As told by an addict who overdosed and almost died twice before giving up drugs. How often did you get high before you overdosed? By the time I overdosed the first time, I was getting high on a daily basis. I no longer took drugs to enjoy a high. I took them to avoid being […]

When the Newness of Sobriety Wears Off

Sobriety is like a love relationship. When you start out, everything is exciting and new. When I first got clean, everything I read, saw and heard about sobriety was very attractive to me. I spent my free time getting to know it in the same way I would get to know a new woman. The […]

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.

[Article_Ad_2]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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