Searching for an inmate is easy and simple if you know how to do it. There are databases that are freely available online to anyone, if you know where to find them. Usually the database will only show people who are currently in custody, but some states do give you access to past and current records, allowing you to see people who were at one time in custody and have since been released. Please be aware: many websites out there will try to charge you to access this information, but you should never pay for this, as this information is provided for free, if you know where to look for it.
To do a successful inmate search you will have to know a minimal amount of information. For starters you will at the very least need to know where the inmate is incarcerated, or at least the State they are serving their time. If you search through the state database and cannot find the inmate it is possible that the inmate is in either a Federal facility or they could be in a jail that is not included in the state databases. We will also show you how to search the jail databases through a single website for free.
You will need to know the name the inmate was arrested, or committed to an institution under. Some of the databases let you do a search using an alias or partial name but for the most part a full first and last name is required. Don't be surprised if you search for a common name and get many results. If this happens you will be able to filter out your inmate using the date of birth that they have listed with the information, or sometimes they will actually give you images of the inmate.
Below I have placed links to all the inmate databases. They are organized by state, with Federal and Immigration searches on the top. If you search and cannot find who you are looking for try searching with less input. For example, if you are looking for John Anthony Smith and get no results you may want to redo your search using less information. For instance, it is better to just search a first and last name, then first last and middle because the inmate may not be listed with their middle name. If you still cannot find the inmate, try your search using an alias or with just a last name, or last name and first name initial.
Finding Inmates Who Were Recently Arrested/Inmates Who Are In Jail
If you still cannot find your inmate, or they are not in a prison but a jail you will want to search using a website called VINELink. VINE stands for Victim Notification system, and it covers almost every state and will allow instant notification of a change to an offenders status. You can choose to be notified if the inmate is moved, or released. You can be notified via Text Message, Email, or Telephone.
Start by accessing the various inmate searches by clicking on the corresponding State/Agency Below:
Most of the search results will give you a ton of information including the current facility and housing information. You can also sometimes get photos and vital statistics, as well as a list of charges, tattoos, release date etc.
If you have any other tips, recommendations, or questions related to doing an inmate search leave a comment below.