How to Find a Convicted Felon

By Giselle Mazur

There are many reason why someone might want to find a convicted felon, such as trying to locate a family member, protecting your family or writing a news article. This article will explain how to use the Internet to find convicted felons.

Things You'll Need

  • A computer with Internet access
  • Information about the convicted person, such as name, age, race, inmate number, etc.

How to Find a Convicted Felon

Step 1

First you need to determine if the convicted felon committed a federal or state crime. You can do this by checking if the person broke federal or state laws when committing the crime. Federal crimes include committing the act while on federal property, committing the act while you are a federal employee or committing a crime that affects interstate commerce (such as drug trafficking.) The majority of crimes are dealt with at the state level.

Step 2

If the person you are trying to locate was incarcerated before 1982, their records must be located by hand. You can do this by contacting the Federal Bureau of Prisons Office of Communications and Archives. To find someone this way, you must know the inmate's full name, date of birth, race and approximate date of imprisonment. You can send a written request for this information to: Federal Bureau of PrisonsOffice of Communications and ArchivesAttn: Historic Inmate Locator Request320 First St., N.W.Washington, DC 20534

Step 3

If the convicted committed a federal crime after 1982, go to the Federal Bureau of Prisons website (see Resources section.)

Step 4

At the top of the menu on the left, select "Inmate Locator."

Step 5

Fill in the forms provided. You can search by inmate number or by the person's name. Searching by inmate number is the most accurate. If you search by name alone, you may have to sift though a list of many people with that name, so enter as many details as possible (such as sex, race and age.) The search results will show you the name, registration number, age, sex, race, location and release date of all inmates who match the information you provided.

Step 6

State crimes work differently in that each state has a different process for keeping inmate records. Most states have online data bases that work in a similar way to the federal site. Go to the Department of Corrections website for the state the crime was committed in and you can usually search a database. If you can't find it or don't know where to look on the site, you can call or write that Department of Corrections for more information.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you know the county the convicted was arrested in, you can search as specifically by the appropriate county sherrif's office. This is where you will find most local or recent inmates.
  • Not all states or counties have their records on the Internet. You may have to contact your local sheriff's office or State Department of Corrections to get the information you need.