How to Locate an Inmate
Most criminal records include listings of aliases or other known names, but typically are only searchable by a person's legal first and last name. Keep in mind you may think you have the person's full legal name when in fact you don't. If you hit a dead-end in your search and cannot find the person, this more than likely is because you don't have his or her legal name. For example, someone may go by his middle name instead of his first name.
Collect additional information.
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Other identifying information, such as a birthdate, can help narrow your search results and enable you to find someone in jail more easily. Searching social media can help you learn some of these details. You also may want to ask friends or family of the person, if they are known and available to you. This is particularly important if the person you're trying to find has a relatively common name.
For example, if you're looking for John Smith, your search of either a state or federal inmate database may turn up many inmates with that name. Additional details can help you find the correct entry more efficiently. The most efficient way to find someone in jail is to look them up by their inmate ID number, but chances are you won't have this information until after you've found them in an inmate database.
Determine the court where the person was convicted. The name and location of the court may provide clues to the location and type of correctional facility where the person is serving time. As an initial matter, you must find out if the person was convicted of a state or federal crime.
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Anyone convicted of a crime in federal court will be in a federal prison, whereas someone convicted of a state crime may be in a state jail or prison. Typically a person convicted in a state court will be serving his or her sentence in a correctional facility in the same state. However, the person may have been transferred if, for example, she was a resident of one state but committed a crime in another.
The location of the person within the state also may depend on the availability of space in nearby jails and prisons.
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Search criminal court records. Since where someone is serving time often depends on the type and degree of crime he or she was convicted of committing, criminal records can help you figure out where the inmate is located. Keep in mind that you may be charged a small fee to conduct full searches of criminal records, but you should be able to get basic information such as the crime for which the person was convicted for free.
The National Center for State Courts has a directory of online criminal records available for each state. Jails tend to hold non-violent offenders serving shorter sentences, while prisons have greater security and restrictions and are designed for violent offenders serving longer sentences.
Method 2. The Federal Bureau of Prisons maintains a database of all federal inmates incarcerated from to the present. Conduct an inmate search. The BOP inmate locator searches by first and last name, but also includes fields for race, age, and sex that you can fill in to narrow your search results. Retrieve the correct listing from the search results.
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Depending on how much you narrowed your search, you may have to sift through several listings to find the right person. Each listing will include the inmate's name, BOP Register Number, age, sex, race, and release date or prison location. Clicking on the prison name will take you to that prison's website, where you can find an address or contact information for the prison itself.
Method 3. VINELink is provided by the National Victim Notification Network, and has information about the location and custody status of state prisoners nationwide.
Additionally, VINELink has information about state inmates only, not inmates housed in federal corrections facilities. The search engine also has additional fields such as birthdate or age range that you can complete if you know that information to limit your search results and increase your chances of finding the right person.
Visit the state corrections department website. Each state's corrections department has a website that will provide you with information about the department and its network of jails and prisons. Find the site's search engine. Most states have a searchable database listing all inmates currently housed in correction facilities. Write this information down because it will expedite further inquiries regarding the person who has been arrested with County Jail staff and future inquiries with the Superior Court.
Santa Rita Broder Blvd. Dublin, CA Clayton, CA The stakes are high in a California criminal case. A conviction for any criminal offense in California may result in jail, large fines, mandatory treatment programs. For that reason, it is critical that that a person charged with have a qualified criminal defense lawyer handling any crmiminal case from the earliest possible moment.
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