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Per the Mississippi Open Records Act (Miss. Code Ann. § 25-61-1), the Secretary of State handles public records request. They have a form you can use to request records, but you must pay a fee and also detail the paperwork needed. Mississippi's Open Records Act is summarized as "It is the policy of this state that public records shall be available for inspection by any person unless otherwise provided by this chapter; furthermore, providing access to public records is a duty of each public body and automation of public records must not erode the right of access to those records. As each public body increases its use of, and dependence on, electronic record keeping, each public body must ensure reasonable access to records electronically maintained, subject to records retention."
In Mississippi, "public bodies" create, store, and maintain public records. "Public bodies include any department, bureau, division, council, commission, committee, subcommittee, board, agency and any other entity of the state or a political subdivision thereof, and any municipal corporation and any other entity created by the Constitution or by law, executive order, ordinance or resolution."
"Public records shall mean all books, records, papers, accounts, letters, maps, photographs, films, cards, tapes, recordings or reproductions thereof, and any other documentary materials, regardless of physical form or characteristics, having been used, being in use, or prepared, possessed or retained for use in the conduct, transaction or performance of any business, transaction, work, duty or function of any public body, or required to be maintained by any public body."
Although you can request public records through the Secretary of State's office, for some records, you must contact the public body/custodian of the records such as the courts, the department of corrections, state or local police, or other government offices directly to request copies. Each entity may have its own process and charge different fees.
The Mississippi Department of Archives and History is the government agency that collects, stores, preserves, and maintains public records archives for the state. They have an extensive website with information on genealogy, sections for researchers, government and vital records, online resources, and information about tours of historical landmarks.
The Secretary of State for Mississippi makes it easy to contact them for copies of public records. They provide an easily accessible online form to submit. They also recommend that you visit or contact government agencies, law enforcement, the courts, and other entities directly to obtain records that they do not store. When requesting records from the Secretary of State follow the steps below:
You may also call or email them with questions or to follow up on a previous request.
The Mississippi State Department of Health, MSDH Criminal History Record Check Division handles background checks for licensed healthcare and child-care facilities. For all other criminal records requests, you need to contact the Mississippi Department of Public Safety(MDPS). They handle criminal records requests for the public along with maintaining the sex offender registry, Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS), Mental Health Adjudication Reporting, and the NIBRS (National Incident-Based Reporting System).
Some common types of criminal records in Mississippi include (but are not limited to):
Court records in Mississippi are created, collected, stored, and maintained by the State of Mississippi Judiciary. They have a section on their website where the public can request records for current and historical cases. They include explicit instructions and a list of the fees per copy. You may also visit a courthouse in person to request records.
Some types of court records in Mississippi are:
The Mississippi court system consists of five levels beginning with the Supreme Court, then the Court of Appeals, the Circuit Court, followed by Chancery Court and County Court, then finally Justice and Municipal Court.
Mississippi arrest records are created and maintained by all levels of law enforcement and the courts. You can request copies of arrest records through the Mississippi Department of Public Safety, local police stations, or by contacting the Department of Corrections or the courts.
Some different types of arrests records in Mississippi are:
The Mississippi State Department of Health is the agency in charge of all vital records for the state. They collect, store, and disseminate copies of birth, death, marriage, and divorce certificates. You can contact them for copies and order them online, through the mail, in person, or by phone. They can also make corrections to incorrect vital records. This office also handles health statistics for the state.
Along with criminal, court, arrest, and vital records, property records in Mississippi are also public. Here are the others:
Some records in Mississippi are not publicly accessible. According to the Mississippi Open Records Act, the following are exempt from this law: