How to Look Up Inmate Information

By Danielle Cort

Whether you want to find an incarcerated relative or a prisoner you heard about in the news, looking up inmate information is easy. You can find information about inmates serving in the Federal prison system (from 1982 to the present) through the Federal Bureau of Prisons' website. You can find information about inmates serving time in a state penitentiary through that state's Department of Corrections website.

Federal Inmates

Step 1

Open your browser and go to the website of the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Step 2

Choose whether to search by ID number or by name. If you know the inmate's Register Number, DCDC, FBI, or INS number, you can enter it in the "Search by ID Number" box. If you know the first and last name, enter it in the "Search by Name" box. To narrow your search, enter other information you know, such as race, sex, or age.

Step 3

Click "Search." The search returns a list of all inmates that match the name if you searched by name. If you searched by ID, it will give you the name of the inmate.

State Inmates

Step 1

Go to a particular state's Department of Corrections website. See Resources for a state-by-state list of departments. Be aware that not all states have online inmate locators.

Step 2

Find a link on the state's website that may be called something like "Inmate Locator," "Inmate Lookup," or "Offender Search.? Search by name, ID, or other identifying information.

Step 3

Call the telephone number of the state's Department of Corrections to find an inmate in a state that does not have an online inmate locator.