Sending Mail

Generally, correspondence is allowed and encouraged. The sending and receiving of mail will be restricted only to the extent necessary to prevent a threat to the safety and security of the facility, to ensure the safety or well being of any person, and to prevent unsolicited and unwanted mail.

PLEASE NOTE: incarcerated individuals may not correspond with any person on their negative correspondence list or on a court Order of Protection prohibiting such correspondence.

Sending obscene, threatening, or fraudulent materials through the mail may be a crime under state and federal laws. The Department will urge prosecution whenever such mail is brought to its attention.

You are personally responsible for the contents of any mail you send into the correctional facility. Unauthorized items will either be returned to the sender at the expense of the incarcerated individual, or otherwise disposed of; this will be the choice of the incarcerated individual and accomplished at the incarcerated individual's expense.

PLEASE NOTE: Dangerous contraband will not be returned.


All mail sent to the incarcerated individual must be clearly marked with the incarcerated individual's name and Department Identification Number (DIN), and the sender's return address in the left top corner of the envelope. Envelopes may include personal letters and photographs.

Do not send:

  • nude photographs
  • Polaroid photos
  • postage stamps
  • letters from other people, except children

A limit of five pages of printed or photocopied materials may be received within a piece of regular correspondence. An individual newspaper clipping will be considered one page. To facilitate media review, do not tape, glue or paste clipping or pages together or to other pages.

Not to exceed once every four months, incarcerated individuals may request in writing to the Superintendent for approval to receive more than five pages of printed or photocopied legal papers within a piece of regular correspondence specifically relating to their current legal matter, including legal briefs or trial transcripts related to the incarcerated individual's active case. If approved, the correspondence must be received within 30 days thereafter.

Incoming mail will be opened and inspected for cash, checks, money orders, printed or photocopied materials, or contraband.

Monies are credited to the incarcerated individual's account. Printed or photocopied materials may delay receipt due to Media Review procedures.

Mail you receive from an incarcerated individual should be well marked with the individual's DIN, correctional facility address, and other clear indications that the letter is from a correctional facility.


Each facility is different. For specific information, contact the facility where you are sending the package. Generally speaking, incarcerated individuals may receive packages through the mail or at visits by anyone not on a negative correspondence or negative vendor list.

A package without a return address will not be delivered to the incarcerated individual. For a complete understanding of packages, refer to Directive #4911, Packages & Articles Sent or Brought to Facilities.

At most correctional facilities, individuals are allowed two food packages per month, and the combined weight cannot exceed 35 pounds.

Food packages received both from visitors and through the mail will be included in the two-package limit. Food items must be commercially or hermetically sealed and contain no alcohol. For exceptions, please review the list of allowable items below.

Additional packages containing non-food items, such as clothing and tobacco, may be received and will not be counted against the food package limit.

Be advised that there are limits to the amount of personal property incarcerated individuals may accumulate based on physical and/or programmatic considerations. There are also restrictions on color of clothing.

Exceptions to the above package rules exist for those in Special Housing Units (SHU), or on "loss of package" sanctions, "reception", or in "in-transit" status, Shock, drug treatment centers, CASAT, and work release centers. For example, no packages may be received at any time by anyone in SHU except books, periodicals, and legal materials. For information about these special populations, please contact that specific facility.

Additionally, individuals located at "TV Facilities" may receive from family, friends or other personal sources only two food packages, including items ordered directly from approved vendors, per calendar year. These packages may contain only food items and may not exceed 20 pounds.

The following are classified as "TV Facilities":

  • Attica
  • Elmira
  • Five Points
  • Shawangunk
  • Wende
  • Clinton
  • Great Meadow
  • Upstate Cadre

Allowable Items


Learn more about items that may be received through the Package Room