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How to Find Out if Someone is Incarcerated?

Posted on by Ben Hartwig in CrimeJanuary 02, 2019

Incarceration means that someone is currently in a local county jail, city jail, state prison, or federal prison. It may come to pass that at some point, you're trying to determine whether someone you know is currently incarcerated. Perhaps your attempts at reaching out to them have gone unanswered, and you know they may be in trouble, or maybe you're trying to determine if someone of interest in your life is still incarcerated from a conviction in the past.

What Are the Methods to Research Incarcerations?

The oldest method in the books on determining whether someone is currently incarcerated is by visiting the detention facility or correctional facility. You can call the department of corrections directly, or they typically have an inmate locator on their website. The problem is that you must conduct this type of search at every possible facility the person could be incarcerated at. There are literally thousands of jails and prisons across the country, and hundreds of thousands of detainees, so searching this way isn't necessarily the best.

Even if you decide to conduct your own online search, you will need to scan databases for both the local/state government sites as well as the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). None of these facilities share records, so you must search each one individually to ensure you're covering all your bases, so to speak.

How To Find Someone In Prison?

How to Find Someone in Prison?

The best way to search for a current inmate is to utilize online databases containing public records and private sources of information. Infotracer's search tool offers such a service, and it's quite user-friendly and hassle-free. All you need to do is search for a person's name, and any inmate records in their past will show up.

The only information you need to conduct a comprehensive background search is a full name, phone number, email, or address. You can also limit the search to a state or city if your information is that detailed. Inmate lookup results will be generated almost instantly and provide a complete criminal history that includes incarceration information. It's helpful to also have the inmate number, inmate’s name, and date of birth. Your search results will be more precise if you do.

The criminal records section of a background check at Infotracer includes arrests, warrants, convictions, and even inmate information for any time served in a facility. You can also view the inmate's possible release date, family members, and other information.

Many government websites (.gov) will also offer the ability to search for current inmates within the local and state inmate locator system. The federal prison system also provides an online search engine for anyone incarcerated within their facilities. Visit the official website’s homepage and look for a facility locator and other public information.

However, searching only government sites won't give you details on the following information: the person's other records, such as social media profiles, contact information, court records, property records, and vital record information.

What Information Can I Learn from Inmate Search?

When you search for someone to find out if they are incarcerated, a plethora of information is included with your records. Inmate records will typically include the following:

  • Location of incarceration
  • Date of booking and expected date of release
  • Date of probation hearing, if any
  • Conviction and sentencing details
  • Court records related to the criminal case
  • Mugshots
  • Physical description
  • Disposition of case

How Do I Find Out if My Friend Is in Jail?

Most people try to determine if someone they know is incarcerated because they can't locate them, or they have reason to believe the subject of their search may be in prison because of the lifestyle they were leading previously. Sometimes, you may simply be curious about the current status of someone who used to be part of your life. Or, perhaps you're wondering why someone simply seemed to disappear without warning; it may also be the case that you're trying to determine whether a rumor you've heard is correct.

You can always contact local law enforcement to see if the person is incarcerated or under community supervision. Visit local sheriff's offices' web pages for a roster of current arrests, misdemeanors, felonies, etc. In addition, you can visit the Federal Bureau of Prisons website to look for federal inmates.

Criminal Court Records

Court records connected to any convictions on an inmate's record can detail dates of hearings, whether the defendant pleaded guilty or not guilty, and even transcripts of the proceedings. Other times, information about the evidence, depositions, and even witness statements and testimony is even outlined in these documents.

Criminal court records will also tell you when future hearings are scheduled for an inmate or whether they will be up for a parole hearing soon.

Searching for incarcerated people is far easier today than it was just a few years ago. If you conduct a nationwide search, you'll find much more information than simply visiting your nearest jail or prison on the Internet, and many more details about their case and disposition are also available. The short story here is that searching a multitude of databases from one website is far more thorough than trying to track down an inmate or former inmate through local records found online.

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