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Inmate Locator Search | Prisoner Locator Search

Welcome to PrisonEducation.com's Inmate Locator | Prison Locator search tool.  With the aid of this tool, families and friends of the incarcerated can quickly and easily locate those in American prisons.

Inmate Location Tools: Staying Connected with Those In Prison 

Once a criminal defendant is sentenced to a term of incarceration, they are often cut off from contacting the world outside of prison.  While this is expected, what is not expected is that the rest of the world is cut off from those in prison, too.  Even families and friends can find it extremely challenging to stay in contact with those in prison, not only because of restrictive correspondence, visiting, and telephone policies, but also due to a general lack of information concerning what prison the family member or friends is incarcerated in and the official contact information of the prison, even locating the mailing address of the prison can be a nightmare.

In an effort to make locating prison inmates easier, many states' departments of corrections have created online tools called an inmate locator or prisoner locator -- an online, electronic database that the public has access to.  Sadly, not many people know about these online inmate locators.  Even more unfortunate, it can be challenging to locate each state's prisoner locator page, which is specific to the particular prison system and located somewhere on their prison system's website.

At PrisonEducation.com, our goal has always been to assist both inmates and their loved ones in improving their lives through education, rehabilitation, job training, and staying in contact -- even while serving a term of incarceration.  After all, studies have shown that prisoners who stay in contact with their families and communities while incarcerated have lower recidivism rates -- mostly due to the enhanced support network they can rely on while in prison and upon release.  This Inmate Locator | Prisoner Locator page is our attempt at helping family members and friends stay in contact.

How to Locate a Prisoner

While court proceedings are public record and can be obtained at the local courthouse that handled a criminal case or by filing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, information concerning where a prisoner is incarcerated isn't as easy to obtain.  After all, those outside of prison can't call a prisoner (no in-bound telephone calls), visit (prior approval is required), or even write to them if they don't know where they are located.

Luckily, most states' departments of corrections have now put inmate location information online, allowing families and friends of prisoners to locate and access information about every inmate in their state's prison system.  This provides a tremendous tool, but first has to be located -- sometimes a tall order.

Families and friends of prisoners should keep in mind that inmates in America can be housed in the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons or in any of the 50 other state prison systems.  Thus yet another level of complexity is added to the mix.  If someone is attempting to locate a prisoner and they don't know what prison system they are incarcerated in, then they should first attempt to locate the prisoner by searching the state's department of corrections' inmate locator for the state where the prisoner lived prior to their incarceration, and then try the Federal Bureau of Prisons inmate locator -- after all, both state and federal crimes can be committed and prosecuted in every state and jurisdiction of the United States.

How to Locate a Federal Prisoner

Locating a federal prisoner is fairly straightforward.  Simply go to the Federal Bureau of Prisons' website, navigate to their Inmate Locator tool, enter the requested information (e.g., name, inmate number, etc.), and activate the search function.  In order to yield more accurate results, the race, age, and gender of the prisoner could also be inputted.  Click on the following link to be brought to the Federal Bureau of Prisons' Inmate Locator webpage:

 

 

How to Locate a State Inmate

Locating a state prison inmate is much the same as locating a federal prisoner.  Simply locate the state below that the inmate is incarcerated in, click on the inmate locator link, provide the personal information requested (e.g., name, age, gender, race, etc.), and engage the search function.

Here are a list of links to each states' department of corrections' inmate locator tools:

 

 

Note: State prison inmate locators -- much like the Federal Bureau of Prisons' inmate locator -- do not have access to or communicate with county prisons, regional jails, or city jails.  Most offender searches will be unable to locate information on county inmates or jail detainees.  While some county jails do have online inmate search access, most do not.  If the information sought via the state prisoner search function here does not yield the desired result, the user can try searching for the name of the nearby counties and the term "inmate locator" in a search engine.  This should bring up a list of county or regional jail inmate locators, where available.

Tips and Tools for Locating a Prisoner

Users of such inmate locator services should be aware that these databases are not updated in real time.  Some update once every 24 hours or even every few days.  In this case, the user could wait a day or two to see if the inmate's location information is added to the database, or if the name of the prison is known, then the prison itself -- or the central office/headquarters for the prison system -- could be reached via telephone or email.

Also, it's not unheard of for prisoners to be arrested, charged, and even convicted and sentenced to a term of incarceration without their name being known.  For example, sometimes illegal immigrants will not disclose their true identity.  More often, human error can be a factor when data is being passed along through the courts.  This then results in inaccurate information in these online inmate locator databases.  This can make it even more difficult to obtain a prisoner's location information.

Prisons are as likely, if not more likely, to suffer from the same error and technological problems as other organizations, and that can make it difficult to employ an accurate inmate locator search.  Luckily, most of the state department of corrections' inmate locator tools work well and provide users with the information they are seeking.

Historical Data on Prison Inmates

The various state departments of corrections have varying policies about accessing historical inmate identification and location data.  Most states do not currently offer information on their individual prisons or the whereabouts of released inmates.  If a user believes that the inmate they are searching for may have been released from custody, they should contact the state's public record's office or department of corrections for support.

Further Support

Locating a family member or friend in prison can be a challenging and frustrating process.  Going into this with one's eyes wide open is thus essential.  If you attempt to locate a prison inmate using the advice contained on this webpage, but are still unsuccessful, please contact us at PrisonEducation.com.  We are always willing to assist in any way that we possibly can.  Thanks for using our Inmate Locator | Prison Locator tool.