Moreover, if a jail does not have a website, your best bet is to call the jail directly. If you have checked all local jails and were unable to locate a person you were looking for, the next step is to check with the state prisons.
Criminal Legal Help
Most of prison website has an inmate — search option as well. Perform prison search only if the person has been sentenced to a long term or have been in a jail for a long time.
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Prisons and Prisoners
For starters you will at the very least need to know where the inmate is incarcerated, or at least the State they are serving their time. If you search through the state database and cannot find the inmate it is possible that the inmate is in either a Federal facility or they could be in a jail that is not included in the state databases.
We will also show you how to search the jail databases through a single website for free. You will need to know the name the inmate was arrested, or committed to an institution under.
How to Find a Person in Jail for Free
Some of the databases let you do a search using an alias or partial name but for the most part a full first and last name is required. Don't be surprised if you search for a common name and get many results.
If this happens you will be able to filter out your inmate using the date of birth that they have listed with the information, or sometimes they will actually give you images of the inmate. Below I have placed links to all the inmate databases. They are organized by state, with Federal and Immigration searches on the top.
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If you search and cannot find who you are looking for try searching with less input. For example, if you are looking for John Anthony Smith and get no results you may want to redo your search using less information.
How to Find If Someone Is in Jail in California | Legal Beagle
For instance, it is better to just search a first and last name, then first last and middle because the inmate may not be listed with their middle name. Thanks to the internet, it has become much simpler in nearly every jurisdiction to find out if and where someone has been taken into custody, incarcerated or imprisoned. Generally, the prison system is split up into a few different types of facilities. There are federal prisons, state prisons and county jails. Typically, the separation relates to the type of crime that an inmate is convicted on, as well as the duration of the sentence.
Federal crimes result in incarceration in a federal prison, while state law felony convicts sentenced to more than one year will be housed in state prisons, and those convicted of misdemeanors and sentenced to less than one year are generally held in county jails. The federal prison system provides an online inmate locator service which only requires you to know a person's basic information, such as their name, age, race and sex.
If the person you are searching for does not turn up in the federal system, next you'll need to check your state's online inmate locator system. If someone has been arrested, it may be more difficult to track them down. Usually, to find out if someone has been arrested will require a call to the police department that made the arrest, or sheriff department in charge of housing pretrial detainees.