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About Jail Records

Find the information you need with a jail records search

A jail record contains information about the time an inmate spent in jail or prison. Correctional departments retain jail records on all inmates who are currently or have been previously incarcerated at one of their facilities. Jail records for both state and federal inmates are available to the public.

Jail records contain important information, including:

  • The inmate's name and known aliases
  • The date of birth
  • Physical characteristics such as race, gender, height, and weight
  • Felony and misdemeanor convictions
  • The offender's current status, whether incarcerated or released

Jail records also list information about the inmate's incarceration, including:

  • The charges made at the time of arrest
  • The name of the sentencing court
  • The jail or prison where the inmate was incarcerated
  • The length of the inmate's incarceration
  • The scheduled release date for an incarcerated inmate
  • Disciplinary measures taken against the inmate

Jail records tell you about the person's criminal history and time spent in jail or prison. The information in jail records may vary by county or state, but the basic facts are always available in this type of criminal record. This website provides you with the tools to easily perform a jail record search.

Why search jail records?

There are several reasons to perform a jail record search. After release from a detention center, former inmates may want to search their jail records to verify its accuracy. Individuals and businesses can search jail records during the process of conducting background checks.

Most employers conduct background checks on prospective employees, which can include a jail record search. Employers have an interest in avoiding hiring individuals who have been incarcerated for certain crimes. Depending on the crime and the amount of time served, an employer may reconsider a prospective hire.

Many former inmates perform jail records searches to verify whether the information in their record is accurate. Correcting errors in the report might make the difference in finding a new job. It's also important to know what is in your jail record report before a job interview, in order to explain your record to a prospective employer.

Even if you don't have a jail record, it's a good idea to check whether your name might produce false positives in a jail record search. You can avoid confusion during a background check if you inform a prospective employer about an inmate with a similar name.

You can also protect yourself by performing a jail record search on people you've met online. New romantic interests or potential business partners might mislead you about their past. Running a jail record search can prevent you from becoming involved with former inmates convicted of fraud, domestic violence, sexual offenses, or other serious crimes.

How to find the right jail records

The first step in your jail record search is to collect as much information as possible about the inmate. The more you know about the person's name, age, crime, and location, the more likely you are to obtain the correct jail records and not those of someone with a similar name. If you're an employer, all the information you need is usually found on the subject's job application.

Others can access a jail record as long as you know the subject's full name and a few other basic details. If you're having trouble finding the inmate, check similar spellings of the name because law enforcement officers may have written it incorrectly.

Knowing the inmate's incarceration identification number is very helpful during an inmate search. If you do not have the ID number, you'll be able to obtain it during your jail record search in most cases.

Even if you take these precautions, you still might turn up a false positive result during a jail record search. Make sure that you enter the full name, check the jurisdiction, and check for any aliases. False positives may also happen when you search for an inmate in a particular state without knowing the specific county.

Keep in mind that some jail records may be unavailable for a variety of reasons. The identity of victims of sexual harassment and assault is always kept confidential under federal and state rape-shield statutes. Some records may be redacted at the request of an inmate's family, the inmate's victim, the state, or the inmate himself. In other cases, the entire jail record may be sealed.

It is also important to review jail records carefully and ensure their accuracy because both false positives and false negatives can have serious consequences. That's why it's always best to use an accurate, up-to-date records database to conduct your search.

Some websites and third-party services may have incomplete jail records or inaccurate information. For the widest and most accurate searches, you should use the resources you'll find on this site.

How to perform the best jail record search

Jail records are available through public record searches. Online search tools are the fastest way to access jail records. Online inmate locators are available for both federal and state prison systems.

In most cases, jail records are also available through online background checks. Although the information is in summary form, it usually provides enough detail about prior convictions and previous incarcerations to help you make a decision about your subject.

Once you locate a jail record, it is important to read it closely. Unlike an arrest record, a jail record only includes offenses that ended in a conviction and incarceration. Still, it's important to keep in mind that even if someone served time, the conviction may have been overturned on appeal.

If a subject claims a conviction was overturned, you'll want to check with the courts in that jurisdiction to confirm the status of the case. The clerk may alert you to a change in the criminal record that wasn't updated in your jail record search.

Jail records yield important information about people, but they don't always provide a complete picture. When reading a jail record report, make sure to consider the details of the conviction closely in order to make informed decisions about that individual.

It is important to use a leading record search site such as this one. Here, you can find all the tools you need to perform background checks, criminal records searches, and jail records searches, and the information is all up-to-date and accurate.