A prison inmate search is easier than ever before. Many counties, states and the federal government have slashed budgets. Rather than answering telephone inquiries about inmates, they have listed prison inmate information online. Most now have search features on their web sites that make it easy to locate an incarcerated person.
People serving time or awaiting trial in the federal correctional system are available through an online prison inmate search. The federal government has long had an inmate search function as part of its federal Bureau of Prisons web site. The searcher must know either the inmate’s BOP Register Number, or the correct spelling of the inmate’s last name. If looking for the inmate by last name only, many results will often appear. The search feature can be narrowed by the inmate’s first name, middle initial, race, sex and age.
Inmates that have been sentenced for felony convictions are lodged in state prisons. Each state has its own prison system. While not all states have an online prison inmate search, most do. Hawaii and Wyoming are two notable exceptions and must be contacted directly via phone or mail to find an inmate.
Many state prison inmates are easy to locate with the correct spelling of their last name. Searches also include first names in many states to make it easier to find a person. Inmates that have been sent to county jails for court dates or out-of-state placements will be listed in the state where they were sentenced. This is true even for inmates that are not currently housed in the original state’s prison system.
A large number of county jails now have online inmate searches. County jails serve two very different functions. Most people arrested in a county will be held at the jail until they post bond or are sentenced in court. Once inmates are sentenced, those with less than a year to serve will be incarcerated at the local county jail. These are generally people that have been convicted of a misdemeanor.
While county jails hold people for trial as well as misdemeanor sentences, inmate searches usually list all inmates currently in the county’s jail system. Most search features are listed on web sites for county sheriff departments. Some can be directly accessed through county web sites if the sheriff’s department does not have a separate site of its own.