Prison Inmate Lookup
There are more than 1700 state prisons around the country, and each one keeps detailed records about the inmates. These records are publicly available for access so you can locate someone incarcerated in state prison.
There are thousands of inmate records, and you can search them through online sources like state websites or search portals where you can get a complete inmate report using just their first and last names.
Some of the information you can review is their criminal history, physical description, aliases, arrests, charges, and sentencing information along with dates for parole or release.
Table of Contents
State Prison Records & the System
From the time a person is arrested, a criminal record is kept of anything that happens to them within the system including additional mug shots taken, charges, rulings, sentencing and jail time. The state keeps track of everything in a database so each inmate can be looked up and their record updated easily. These records are also publicly accessible.
Incarceration is the United States is the system for punishment for crimes and rehabilitation for inmates. America has the highest number of inmates in the world. Most U.S. prisons are filled with non-violent offenders. This statistic is due to a crackdown on crime, which took place during the “tough on crime” movement back in the 1980s.
There are two types of prisons in the U.S. federal and state. Basically, those criminals that violate state laws go to state prison, and those that commit federal crimes end up in federal prison.
When an inmate is sentenced, a point system is used to determine which type of facility they are assigned to. Then much like a board of directors, a committee made up of caseworkers, psychologists and social workers, review each inmate and decide exactly where they will go.
Incarceration Statistics of State Prisons
- Approximately 1.51 million prisoners reside in state prisons. 97% of these prisoners were sentenced to more than one year. The remainder has not yet been sentenced or has less than a year of time left to go.
- 93% of all prisoners in state prison are male. However, there are twice as many black females in state prison as white females. Black men aged 18 - 19 were almost twelve times more likely to be in state prison than white males that age.
- 54% of those in state prison committed a violent offense and are sentenced to more than one year prison time. 15% are there because of drug offenses. State prison admissions are down by 5% hopefully indicating less recidivism.
- 2016 experienced an increase of 500 more females imprisoned in the state penal system with sentences of a year or more.
State Prison Security Levels
State prisons have five security levels each appropriate for different types of criminals and the severity of their offenses. The five levels are minimum security, low security, medium security, high security and administrative security.
- Minimum Security - is for low-risk, non-violent criminals with no history of escape. There are fewer employees and very few, if any fences. Inmates are housed in dormitory-style rooms. Sex offenders are prohibited from minimum security.
- Low-Security - is just like minimum security but houses criminals with some violent behaviors. They do have fences surrounding the facility.
- Medium Security - houses inmates in cells, most or many have a violent history, and razor wire surrounds the prison.
- High/Maximum-Security - is where the most violent criminals are sent, and extra precautions and staff is needed to keep things peaceful.
- Administrative Security - is a particular classification for other situations like dealing with serious medical issues or the mentally ill.
Effects of Incarceration on Crime & Society
A lot of studies show that incarceration over the long term actually damages people and society. Prisons are overcrowded and underfunded, and many non-violent people spend years behind bars only to come out more of a criminal than when they went in and more a danger to society.
Mass jailing is an effort to reduce the crime rate in America, but incarceration alone doesn’t cut it; the crime rate can rise through recidivism. Thorough rehabilitation and helping those behind bars make a better life after release does reduce crime and benefit society.