Brooklyn Detention Complex Inmate Mail

Brooklyn Detention Complex Inmate Mail

When mailing a letter or postcard to an inmate, please address your mail as follows:

Inmate's First and Last Name
275 Atlantic Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11201

All mail sent to an inmate at the Brooklyn Detention Complex must include the sender's name and mailing address in the top left corner of the envelope or postcard.

Failure to include your return address will most likely result in your mail NOT being delivered and your letter destroyed.

Main Phone: 212-266-1500

The information below provides complete instructions regarding:

  • Brooklyn Detention Complex Inmate Mail Policies,
  • Mail Instructions,
  • What type of mail is NOT allowed,
  • Rules for Mailing Letters and Photos and Postcards
  • Emailing an inmate,
  • Policies for Sending Magazines, Newspapers, Books and Packages to Brooklyn Detention Complex in Brooklyn, New York.

Follow these instructions exactly to help ensure that your inmate receives his/her mail and not have it thrown away.

The Brooklyn Detention Complex has a zero-tolerance policy regarding mail violations.

Type of Mail Allowed for Brooklyn Detention Complex


The Brooklyn Detention Complex allows inmates to receive pre-metered postcards like the type purchased from the post office. They may also allow certain photo postcards as long as they have not been tampered with or contain images that may be considered to be obscene or violent in nature.


The Brooklyn Detention Complex also allows inmates to receive letters in envelopes as long as they aren’t altered by things such as perfume or lipstick.

To confirm that the Brooklyn Detention Complex still allows letters in envelopes call 212-266-1500 or view the Inmate Mail Instructions by going

Click here  to look up the inmate’s Booking and Casing number. Once the link opens, click on inmate look-up. Input the inmate’s first and last name and locate the Booking and Casing number.

Address the envelope or postcard like this:

Inmate’s name – Booking and Case Number

Brooklyn Detention Complex

275 Atlantic Avenue

Brooklyn, New York  11201

You must also place your full name and address in the left-hand top corner of the envelope or postcard.

Incoming mail without a return name and address may be rejected by jail staff.

There is no limit to the number of pages you send as long as the weight does not exceed 15 pounds, which would be almost impossible with a handwritten letter.


You are allowed to bring newspapers to give to the inmate during visits, but the inmate is not allowed to have a subscription sent to the jail. The library provides newspapers for inmates to read.


Inmates can have magazine subscriptions mailed as long as they don’t possess more than 10 books and magazines combined at any given time.

News, special interest or sports magazines may be mailed directly from the publisher or from a private person. Magazines do not have to be new.

The label should be addressed in the same way you address the letters – with first name, last name and booking number.

 Any magazines that contain profanity, weapons, pornography or other content that is adult in nature will be confiscated by the jail staff and will NOT be delivered to the inmate.

This facility will allow the inmate to receive books by mail. They can be sent directly from a vendor such as or or you can send them yourself. They do not have to be new.

While there isn’t a rule against hardcover books, the jail staff has discretion in whether to allow hardcovers, therefore, it is best to always send softcover books. Mail them to the same address you mail letters and be sure to put the inmate’s booking number on the label.

It is a good idea to also write the inmate’s first and last name and booking number in the inside flap of each book if they are being sent from home.

Books must NOT contain images or content that are considered excessively violent, pornographic or obscene. Any book that does not meet the Brooklyn Detention Complex standards will be disposed of.

To confirm that the Brooklyn Detention Complex continues to allow books to be mailed in, call 212-266-1500.


You are allowed to mail clothing to an inmate but cannot mail clothing that is camouflage, blue, red or yellow in color.

Jail staff strongly recommends you send brown, grey or white clothing and black, brown or grey shoes or a combination of those colors.

Shoes are only allowed for courtroom appearances or other outside needs such as the funeral of a family member,  etc.

Inmates are not allowed to wear button - down white shirts.

The box cannot weigh more than 15 pounds and must be less than 12 inches high, 24 inches deep and 24 inches wide.

Inmates are allowed to have the following clothing items in their possession:

    * 1 Coat (Non-uniform, No Blue or Camouflage, No leather, "Carhart"  "Dickies" or Bubble Coats, etc.)

    * 1 Suit Jacket (Non-Uniform, No Blue or Camouflage, No leather or "Carhart").

    * 1 Pair of Gloves (For outdoor cold weather, October-April).  No work or leather gloves, knit type only.

    * 1 Hat/Cap (Non-uniform, no stocking type caps).

    * 1 Raincoat (Non-Uniform or reversible, no black, no camouflage and no hoods).

    ** 1 pair of Shoes or Sneakers, (No hollow chambers or platform soles, Converse All-Stars high tops, New Balance, Nike or Adidas sneakers or boots, to be used for on-trial court appearances or a significant family event. Shoes cannot have metal supports/shoe shanks).

    ** 2 sets of shoelaces to be used for on-trial court appearance or a significant family event.

    Four sets of underclothing (In accordance with the inmate’s sex unless otherwise approved by medical).

    4 pairs of socks.

    4 pairs of Stockings, Panty hose, Knee-hi’s (Combination) - (female only).

    2 pairs of pajamas (men).

    2 nightgowns or 2 pairs of pajamas (female only).

    1 bathrobe.

    1 Housecoat (female only).

    *2 sweaters/sweatshirts (combination) (sweatshirts - no hoods or pockets).

    * 2 pairs of Shorts or Cut-off Long Pants.

    * 4 pairs of pants (Non-uniform, no dark blue or camouflage).

    *4 shirts/blouses (Non-uniform, no white, dark blue or camouflage).

    *4 dresses (female only).

    *4 skirts (female only).

    * 1 Belt (Maximum 1 ½" wide, buckle maximum 2 ¼" x 2", Non-elastic).

    * 1 tie (No black) (male only) (Not allowed for inmates housed in mental health observation).

       2 handkerchiefs (white only).

       2 scrunchies (ponytail holder).

*Items marked with an asterisk (*) are not allowed for any sentenced inmate unless he/she is scheduled for court or is going to attend a significant family event.

Click here to view complete details about mailing clothing to an inmate.


Stationery Supplies

This facility allows inmates to receive specific stationery supplies through the mail. They include:

10 envelopes (standard letter-sized or smaller)

1 legal-sized cardboard portfolio

6 pencils that do not contain any metal or erasers

3 composition books (lined or unlined)

1 non-metal ruler

6 writing pads

2 erasers

1 package of writing paper

1 calendar

Click here for additional mailing rules.

Care packages

Care packages are pre-chosen items packaged together and sent to the inmate from a third-party vendor. They can include clothing, snacks and seasonal items.

When a jail allows the inmate to receive Care Packages they must come directly from an approved company that specializes in serving the inmates of jails.

Call 212-266-1500 or click
here or here to see if the Brooklyn Detention Complex participates in a Care Package program and if so, how to purchase one.

Emailing an Inmate

A growing number of jails now offer email services to inmates and their families. This can save you time by letting you view your email from your Smart Phone, computer or tablet whenever you wish.

In addition, you don't have to deal with envelopes, stamps or the post office.

Inmates like it because the emails typically eliminate delayed mail runs so they can get your correspondence much more quickly and send responses immediately.

Jail staff likes it as it eliminates concerns about contraband entering the facility in envelopes and on paper. It also allows the jail to have an electronic record that can be called upon at any time.

Anything you or your inmate writes in an email service is put through a filter program that looks for certain words related to criminal and/or gang activities.

There have been multiple cases in which emails between inmates and their friends or loved ones has been used as evidence in criminal court cases to convict them or to file new charges.

Call 212-266-1500 or click here to see if email services are being offered at this jail and if so, how to sign up you and your inmate.

How to address your Inmate's Postcard or Envelope

Inmate's First and Last Name
275 Atlantic Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11201

All mail sent to an inmate at the Brooklyn Detention Complex must include the senders name and mailing address in the top left corner of the envelope or postcard.

Failure to include your return address will most likely result in your mail NOT being delivered and discarded.

To confirm the mailing address and/or any new policies regarding inmate mail call 212-266-1500 or check the most recent updates on the jail's website by going here.

Mailed Items NOT Allowed

There is no limit to the number of pages you can send in a letter.

You are also allowed to send greeting cards including those that have glitter decorations or play music.

Examples of prohibited items include:

Altered mail such as perfumed or lipstick covered.

Paper with any type of stains such as grease.

News clippings.

Crayon, felt tip or hand painted drawings.

Call 212-266-1500 or click here for a complete list of prohibited items.


Photos should not exceed 4 inches high x 6 inches wide.

While there isn’t a limit on the number of photos you can send, jail staff recommends you not send more than 5-7 at a time.

Polaroid Photos are prohibited.

Inmates are not permitted to receive any photo that includes himself or herself. For example, if you are sending photos of the family reunion, do not send any that include the inmate in the picture.

Photos of weapons are prohibited.

Photos of drugs, the consuming of drugs or alcohol is prohibited.

Photos of lewd behavior or people exhibiting too much skin is prohibited.

Call 212-266-1500 or check the most recent policies regarding inmate photos on the jail's website by going here.

Important Mail Tips

All mailed packages will be opened and inspected. If any contraband is found in a package you mailed, you can be arrested and charged with a criminal offense. Your inmate can also be charged with a crime.

Mail is always scanned and inspected for contraband, obscenity and other rule infractions.

Assume that everything you write will be read by jail staff and can and will be used against you or your inmate in court.  

Never write anything about the inmate's court case you wouldn't want read aloud in court.

Mail is considered by the jail to be a privilege. Any violations of the mail policies can result in the inmate's mail privileges being suspended.

Click here to view contact information for the Brooklyn Detention Complex.