How and Where to Lookup Inmate Records

There are a few reasons why you might want to look someone up who is incarcerated. You might know a friend or family member in prison and want to locate them so you can visit or send them money. You might also be a victim of someone in the prison system and want to find out when they are scheduled for parole or release.

Thankfully, finding an inmate is easy. All you need is the person’s name and sometimes date of birth or incarceration number. You can use online search portals like this one or state agencies. You can easily find someone in prison and view specific information about them. The inmate profiles allow you to lookup mugshots, arrest history, parole and release dates along with personal details like aliases, age, race, gender, their physical description and home address.

Who are Inmates & their Types

Sometimes called prisoners or convicts, inmates are people who are confined to a jail, prison or a hospital because of crimes they committed. Inmates are not free people; they are detained against their will for a specific period of time as punishment and rehabilitation for their wrongdoings.

Each prison has different levels for different types of criminals.

  • Minimum Security - is for low-risk offenders, usually white collar criminals.
  • Low Security - is for inmates who are not violent and not generally a risk for escape.
  • Medium Security - houses more dangerous criminals that need additional supervision.
  • Maximum-Security - is for the most violent and dangerous criminal types with a long history of offenses. Sometimes these types even end up in solitary confinement.

Types of the US Correctional Facilities

Did you Know…

More than half (54%) of state prisoners are serving sentences for violent offenses
Nearly half (47%) of federal prisoners had been sentenced for drug offenses
The number of prisoners held in private facilities accounts 128,300 inmates
US has 1,393,975 male and 111,422 female prisoners
US Imprisonment Rate is 450 people per 100.000 residents, 847 for males and 64 for females
The majority of the inmates - 16.3% are between 30-34 years of age
32 states and the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) holds 2,814 prisoners under sentence of death
California (26%), Florida (14%), and Texas (9%) hold nearly half (49%) of the nation’s prisoners under sentence of death
An estimated 4,537,100 adults are under community supervision, that’s approximately 1 in 55 adults
County and city jails hold 740,700 inmates
In 2016, jails reported 10.6 million admissions
The total rated capacity of county and city jails is 915,400 beds
80% of jail beds are occupied

Creating Jail Records

When a suspect is sent to jail, it is often for a short period while awaiting trial or to serve a short sentence for a misdemeanor (prison sentences are usually for longer periods or sentences for more serious crimes). Serving time in jail may mean a suspect is too important to release while waiting for trial, or too much of a risk as he may not return for his court date. Others are held in jail until they can post bail – if they can't post bail, they're held until their court date, which in some jurisdictions means they spend enough time in custody to serve their sentence before a judge decides if they're guilty.

Jail records include proof of identity, including mugshots and other booking records that establish the arrest and custody of a suspect by police. These booking records are the beginning of a complete dossier on the suspect and his alleged crime, from his physical appearance to identifying characteristics like tattoos, to preliminary medical records that indicate any special treatment or medical therapy that might be necessary in jail. (Some infectious diseases may require an inmate to be sequestered from others.)

When a person arrives at a jail, his belongings are taken away and documented. He is asked to sign a form that shows the inventory of these belongings, including for instance shoes, a wallet, and clothing. This record is meant to ensure that when the inmate is released from jail the same items will be returned to him.

When a suspect or convict arrives at a jail, the records follow him, and more are created: every time an inmate has a medical appointment, a court hearing scheduled, or visit from his attorney, records are updated. These jail records are crucial to both the county that maintains the jail and to the inmate himself, to prove whether he is provided basic services – and to keep track of him. There have been many cases in which records get mixed up and cause jails to release the wrong inmate, or for inmates to linger in custody without proper court hearings for months longer than constitutionally allowed.