Before visiting an inmate at a Department of Correction (DOC) correctional facility, you should:

  • Review the rules about what you’re allowed to wear and bring
  • Make sure you have an acceptable form of identification
  • Check the visit schedule to find out what days and times you can go
  • Plan your travel

You should also check the DOC Virtual Visitors’ Center for detailed information about DOC’s visitor policies and procedures.

If you aren’t feeling well, you are encouraged to postpone your visit to a City jail. This protects inmates, staff, and the general public.

To visit an inmate, you must follow the DOC dress code policy and wear appropriate clothing. This policy is for the safety and security of staff, inmates, and visitors, as well as to maintain a family-friendly environment.

You will not be allowed to go to the visit floor of a jail if you wear:

  • Overly suggestive clothing
  • More than one layer of clothing
  • Clothing in which contraband and prohibited items can be hidden
  • Clothing with holes or rips more than three inches above the knee 
  • Hooded garments 
  • Hats and head coverings (excluding religious head coverings)
  • Clothing identifying a specific gang by name or logo 
  • Clothing that makes explicit reference to obscene language, drugs, sex, or violence 
  • Swimming attire 
  • See-through garments 
  • Uniforms 
  • Jewelry (excluding a wedding ring and one religious medal. The medal must be no more than two inches in diameter and hung on a chain. The chain must be no wider than one quarter-inch in diameter and no longer than 24 inches.)
  • Tops and dresses which expose the chest, stomach, or back 
  • Shorts, skirts, or dresses with a hem more than three inches above the knee 
  • Spandex leggings unless covered by a top, shorts, skirt, or dress with a hem no more than three inches above the knee 
  • Outer garments including coats, shawls, ponchos, jackets, vests, gloves, or over-boots or overshoes 

All visitors must wear undergarments.

If your attire violates the dress code, you are still permitted a contact visit if you agree to wear a cover-up garment provided by DOC. If you refuse to wear the cover-up garment, you will be denied a visit.

Secure storage lockers will be provided at facilities. On Rikers Island, you must go to the Visit Control Building to get the coins needed to use a locker.

Online

Learn more about the DOC Dress Code Policy.

By Phone

Call 311 for assistance.

Adults and Youth Ages 16 and Older

If you are 16 and older, you must present one form of valid identification to visit a DOC inmate. The ID must have a photograph and signature, and it cannot be expired or altered.  

Examples of acceptable ID include: 

  • Driver license (from any state or territory in the U.S.)
  • Department of Motor Vehicles non-driver license identification card (from any state or territory in the U.S.)
  • Employment identification (from any state or territory in the U.S.)
  • New York State benefits identification card (such as Medicaid/Food Stamp Photographic Identification)
  • IDNYC card
  • College identification (from any state or territory in the U.S. The college or university ID must show the current semester. If the ID does not have a sticker with the current semester, the student must present a document from the Registrar’s office which says the student is currently enrolled.)
  • U.S. Armed Services identification card
  • Resident Alien Card or Permanent Resident Card Issued by the U.S. Department of Justice (Green Card)
  • Passport (from any country)
  • Consulate-issued identification or diplomatic identification

High school IDs are not accepted.

Children Under 16

Children under the age of 16 who are accompanied by an adult over the age of 18 are not required to present any identification.

A 16-year-old or 17-year-old 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-year-old or 17-year-old must produce a birth certificate for the child under the age of 16.

You are not allowed to bring certain items into City Jails, the Rikers Island Visit Control Building, or the Hospital Prison wards. DOC provides a full list of prohibited items online in their Visit Handbook as well as by phone. 

The following is a partial list of prohibited items:

  • Guns and bullets 
  • Illegal drugs 
  • Syringes 
  • Knives, box cutters, needles, razors, scissors or any other sharp objects, brass knuckles or any other weapons 
  • Tools 
  • Metal or glass objects 
  • Padlocks 
  • Nail clippers and fingernail files 
  • Cigarettes, cigars, rolling paper, chewing tobacco, or pipes 
  • Tape or other adhesives 
  • Explosive devices 
  • Matches or lighters 
  • Electronic devices, including cell phones, iPods, iPads, MP3 players, e-readers, pagers, beepers, laptops, cameras, recording devices or radios 
  • Digital media including CDs and DVDs 
  • Law enforcement badges and equipment 
  • Liquids and beverages except two clear plastic bottles with non-alcoholic beverages for babies accompanying visitors 
  • Gels 
  • Metal hairclips and hairpins 
  • Non-prescription medication 
  • Non-prescription sunglasses 
  • No more than a total of three books, newspapers, and/or magazines (except when included in an inmate package) 
  • Photographs (except when included in an inmate package) 
  • Gum

You are allowed to bring prescription medication in its original container. Except for life-saving prescription medication, all other medication must be stored in a locker and cannot be brought to the facility visit floor. 

Secure storage lockers will be provided at facilities. On Rikers Island, you must go to the Visit Control Building to get the coins needed to use a locker.

Online

Download the DOC Visit Handbook.

By Phone

Call 311 for assistance.

Monthly visitor schedules and rules for Rikers Island, the Brooklyn Detention Complex, the Manhattan Detention Complex, and the Vernon C. Bain Center are available online and by phone.

  • Mondays and Tuesdays: No visits allowed.
  • Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays: Visits allowed based on the first initial of the inmate's last name. Check the monthly schedule to find out which inmates may receive visitors.
  • Fridays: Visits allowed for all inmates.

Online

Learn more about the DOC Visit Schedule.

By Phone

Call 311 for assistance.

You are encouraged to take public transportation to Rikers Island. The MTA's Q100 bus goes over the Rikers Island Bridge and stops directly in front of the Rikers Island Central Visit House. 

MTA bus routes and schedules are available. Visit the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) website.

If you drive, there is very limited parking at Hazen Street and 19th Avenue in Queens. You will need to take the MTA's Q100 bus over the Rikers Island Bridge to the Rikers Island Central Visit House.

Online

Get travel directions to Rikers Island and other DOC facilities.

By Phone

Call 311 for assistance.

DOC provides free bus transportation for visitors to and from Rikers Island Wednesday through Sunday. The bus stops are located in Harlem and Brooklyn.

  • The Harlem bus stop is on the corner of East 125th Street and 3rd Avenue. 
  • The Brooklyn bus stop is on Jay Street between Fulton Street and Willoughby Street. 

Anyone who is 16 or older must present valid current identification. 

All buses are accessible to people with disabilities and are staffed by trained drivers.

Learn more about the Rikers Visit Bus.

Bus Schedules and Travel Time

The typical one-way route time is 45 minutes for the Harlem stop and 60 minutes for the Brooklyn stop, but it depends on traffic conditions. Departure times may vary from those in the schedule.