jail and prison records
Prison and Jail Records Online
Many prisons and jails have online databases for locating inmates.
Federal Prison Inmate Database
The Federal Bureau of Prisons has an online database of past and present inmates, and an Inmate Locator for searching by last name and first name. The website is here:
Search results will include the age, race, sex and registration number of the inmate, the inmate's projected release date, and the prison where the inmate is incarcerated.
For example, try a search for this inmate - Theodore Kaczynski (the infamous Unabomber).
State Prison Inmate Databases
An online database searchable by inmate's name that lists the inmate's admission date to prison, the prison where the inmate is being held, the inmate's age and the inmate's identification number.
Very limited information on where an inmate is incarcerated also is available by phone.
Prisons in other states also are putting online their databases of incarcerated people.
A site with links to the websites of departments of corrections in different states, including those with online databases of inmates, is:
(this site also has historical records of inmates at many state prisons)
And a cautionary note: see this Texas Tribune story about errors in the prisoner database in that state.
County Jail Inmate Databases
Some county jails have made their inmate records available online.
The VINELink website also posts data from some county jails on inmates in custody. You can search the database by an inmate's name to determine if they're in custody and get their inmate ID number, date of birth and other information.
To see which counties are available, go to the:
VINELink is run by a private company - Appriss - that specializes in developing criminal justice data networks.
Another site that has links to county jail inmate databases online is:
You can also check the websites of county sheriff's departments, which run the county jails. In California, the California Sate Sheriff's Association keeps a list of sheriff's websites and phone numbers: