Inmate Search

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Find the information you need with an inmate search

There are many times when you may need to conduct an inmate search. Finding a prisoner can be surprisingly difficult, even if they've been at the same correctional facility for years.

One of the most common reasons people need to perform an inmate search is to locate an incarcerated friend or family member. If a loved one has been arrested and incarcerated, perhaps in another state, it can be difficult to locate him or her without plenty of help.

What does an inmate search do?

There are also plenty of reasons other people need to conduct an inmate search. For example, law enforcement officers routinely run inmate record searches if they believe an incarcerated person may have important information about other crimes.

Financial-services firms and creditors also perform inmate searches to confirm someone is incarcerated and therefore unable to repay overdue debts or fulfill other obligations.

Search for state inmates and federal inmates

There are different inmate search processes for locating state and federal inmates. If you're looking for an inmate in a state prison, you'll need to begin your inmate search through the state department of corrections.

Since federal inmates are kept in a different prison system, you'll need to find them through the Bureau of Prisons (BOP). The BOP has a convenient inmate locator tool that can find anyone incarcerated in federal prison since 1982.

Both state and federal prisons track inmates with identification numbers. It's easier to find an inmate if you know that identification number before beginning your prisoner search.

If you don't have the inmate identification number, you can still conduct an inmate search by name.

How to perform an inmate search

Conducting an inmate search may be difficult if you aren't familiar with the proper procedures to use. And, during the inmate lookup process, it's important to remember that incarceration isn't always proof of guilt, especially if you discover a recently-incarcerated friend during a missing person search.

The first step is to get as much information about the inmate as possible. Determining the prisoner's state department of corrections ID number or BOP ID number will make your search much easier.

You can get that ID number if you're in direct communication with the inmate or his or her family. Or, you can sometimes find it through a court records search.

Even if you don't have a prisoner ID number, you can still run an inmate search by using a first and last name. If the inmate's name is common, a middle name or initial may help. It's also helpful to know the race, approximate age, and any other relevant information to narrow your inmate search.

Which information is available from an inmate search?

Information on inmates is a matter of public record and available for search through the state department of corrections or federal BOP websites. Correctional departments retain jail records on all inmates who are currently or previously incarcerated at one of their facilities.

When you’re conducting an inmate search, the records will indicate the inmate's name, correctional ID number, date of birth, the relevant facility, and whether or not the person has been released.

Conducting an inmate search is more difficult if you don’t have much information about the prisoner in question. If you have only limited information about a person, it’s best to use the right online platform to do your inmate search.

This is especially true if you don’t know exactly where the inmate was convicted and incarcerated. This is a common problem when a prisoner commits crimes in different jurisdictions.

An inmate search platform can help you discover where a prisoner was tried and convicted, so you can then check the inmate records through that state’s department of corrections website.

Inmate search platforms are also valuable when a defendant was convicted of both federal and state charges. This often occurs in drug trafficking cases, or cases involving crimes against a federal employee, or various Internet-based crimes.

The prisoner might serve a sentence in a federal prison before being transferred to a state prison. Or, he or she might face federal charges while serving a sentence for a state crime.

The best inmate search

If you’re having trouble tracking down an inmate, try using a reliable inmate search platform instead. One advantage of this site is that it offers access to all state criminal records as well as all federal inmate records.

It's also important to consider the possibility that an inmate may have been released already, or transferred to another jurisdiction. And since many prison inmates are repeat offenders, it's possible that he or she may have been released once, then convicted and sentenced again elsewhere.

In any event, no matter whether you're searching for a state inmate or federal prisoner, you'll find all the available arrest records and court records through the resources on this site.