Procedures for prison visitation vary for city and state prisons. Find the information you need below.
How many people can visit?
Generally, incarcerated people are permitted to see up to three visitors at the same time. However, the maximum number can vary depending on space and other conditions in each jail, such as space and the number of visitors at any given time. People incarcerated before trial are usually allowed three visits during a week, each on separate days. Sentenced individuals may have two visits per week, on separate days. You can learn more here.
Are there age requirements?
Children may visit. Children under 16 years must be accompanied by an adult who is 18 years or older and has proper identification. A teenager who is 16 or 17 years old may visit without an adult, but may not act as an adult escort of a child under 16, unless both the visitor and the incarcerated person are the child’s parents. You can learn more here.
When can I visit?
There is a visitation schedule of dates and hours based on the last name of the person incarcerated. Visits must occur at certain times on specified days. Friends and family can obtain this information at the Department of Correction website.
What forms of ID are required?
You must have the proper identification. Check the DOC website to be sure you have the right one. Every adult visitor and unaccompanied minor aged 16 and 17 must have one form of valid identification containing a clear photograph and signature. A valid identification card must be unexpired. Examples of valid identification documents include:
The following items are not permitted inside a City jail:
How do I visit a New York State Prison?
Visiting days and times in the state system vary from prison to prison. Before visiting a person in a state prison, check on the schedule for that facility. You can check the schedule here.
How do children visit?
Children of incarcerated people do not need pre-approval, and will be allowed to visit without written permission. Minors must be accompanied by an adult and must have written permission from a parent or guardian if the accompanying adult is not a parent or guardian.
Proof of identity is required. Acceptable identification includes any picture ID, a document with the visitor’s signature on it, or birth or baptismal certificates. However, we strongly recommend that you bring a government-issued identification, as people have experienced difficulties when they present non-government based identification.
What is prohibited?
Do not bring cell phones, memory cards, weapons, drugs, chewing gum or alcohol into the prison. Contraband is prohibited, as is inappropriate attire. Medication must be declared when the visitor enters the facility. All persons entering a correctional facility are subject to search.
How can I travel to a state prison?
Video visits are available in some NYS prisons, from certain public libraries and the Osborne Association. A number of organizations operate buses for a fee. For more information about family visitation at prisons and transportation, contact the Osborne Association at 212-324-5577 or visit their website.
More information on state prison visits.
The DOCCS visiting program guidelines can be found here. You can find even more information about visiting DOCCS here.
For clients in DOC facilities, hour long video visitation for families (defined broadly) can be arranged through the public library in your borough.
Bronx | Manhattan | Staten Island
The New York Public Library
Call: 646-397-7618 or 347-561-1102
Brooklyn Public Library
For youth in secure juvenile detention (16-17 year old clients), video visitation through the library system must be arranged through case management in the facilities and individuals must be on the approved visitation list.
More information is available here.
The information in this document has been prepared by The Legal Aid Society for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. You should not act upon any information without retaining professional legal counsel.
Last Updated: 8 August 2023
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