How to search for inmates in the USA?

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Federal inmate search for county jails

Making it easier to search for inmates in the US jails and prisons is the main purpose of this website. Even though many (unfortunately not all) of the US jails have their own websites (either dedicated one, but more often as a separate jail page on a corresponding Sheriff’s website), even less provide inmate locator to search for inmates. States in the USA are pretty much independent in making internal decisions, and considering different applicable law, it is not likely a federal inmate search will appear, at least for county jails (while there are such for federal prisons). Therefore we are trying to collect as much inmate services as possible and keep them updated, so you can use a correspondent inmate locator whenever you need.

Different approach to locating an inmate

Trying to find an inmate you might have seen the following solutions:

  • inmate search service located on a jail’s website, which is regularly updated by the jail/sheriff staff – it seems to be the most convenient way to obtain information about even just booked inmates; such inmate locators often allow one to search for inmate within a given time frame, use advanced search (by code, first and last name, jail unit, etc.), unfortunately not all jails’ websites are that progressive (or maybe once had started as a great initiative, such inmate search service was then forgotten and abandoned);
  • inmate roster as a separate page, pdf or txt file, which is also manually or automatically updated, but gives less options for search;
  • some jails use external providers for inmate search service; Vinelink is the most commonly used one (it is the Online database of the National Victim Notification Network, which is intended to be an online service to victims of crime). However, external providers need to receive fresh inmates data, and it still depends on the jail staff to keep the roster updated – if jail administration does not bother, the inmate roster will be outdated or even will not exist, and in this case online inmate search will not be possible.

What kind of information is inside an inmate roster?

The amount of information each jail provides about inmates in custody is different as well. Some inmate rosters only give full name, booking date and number, maybe charges data – the information you might need to bail out an inmate, while other inmate locators will also provide you with age, height, weight, eyes and hair color, sex and race, arresting agency, bail amount, detailed charges description, as well as previous criminal history of the person under custody. Here is an example of a more or less detailed inmate locator of Yuba County Jail in California, while it still lacks some data (such as mugshot or previous criminal records).

How do I search for an inmate?

First of all you need to navigate to a page of the corresponding jail or prison. The easiest way is to use the search bar on top of this page:

Search for jail

Searching for specific jail

You will get corresponding search results:

Jail search results

This link will lead you to the corresponding jail page (Weld County Jail, Colorado in our example). Jail page consists of street view, map and contact details, jail description, jail FAQ and related files (if applicable), as well as links for inmate search, current arrest warrants and most wanted criminals in the corresponding county.

How to search for inmates in US jails

Clicking the inmate search button will navigate you to the inmate locator for this jail:

Jail inmate search

Depending on the type of service you might be required to enter initial inmate information (first and last name) or given a current inmate roster. In this case use Ctrl+F and search in  your browser for the inmate.

We do our best to provide you with the current inmate search services for each jail in the USA, however we are aware that some jails pages might be not updated yet. We are working hard on a daily basis to deliver you every inmate locator existing.

Feel free to share your ideas or suggestions in the comments below.

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