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.
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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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