How do I Search for a County Jail Inmate?

Keith Koons
Keith Koons
It might be necessary to call county offices to locate an inmate.
It might be necessary to call county offices to locate an inmate.

There are essentially three ways to search for a county jail inmate, and although this process would vary between different jurisdictions, it is often a simple process. Many counties have uploaded all of their records to the Internet so that a quick search by name can be performed. Other areas may require a visit to the county courthouse or the sheriff's office, but this information can sometimes be obtained by a phone call as well. Obtaining the information is solely up to that area's policies; some places are much more difficult than others. If a county jail inmate can not be located through conventional means, the information can also be obtained through contacting the arresting officer's precinct or the district attorney.

Some counties upload public records and post online the names of inmates in their custody.
Some counties upload public records and post online the names of inmates in their custody.

In many areas, an inmate search can be completed online through an automated inmate finder. These types of systems allow a person to search by an inmate's name, his prison identification number, or even where the arrest was made. After logging into the official county website, the user would normally look for a link that states, "Look for an incarcerated inmate." From there, the person would be taken to the database to begin the search. Some areas also incorporate the ability to search for a county jail inmate that could be housed in many different prisons at once; it all depends on that municipality's overall budget.

When a free inmate search over the Internet fails, it may be necessary for the seeker to contact his local county offices for assistance on locating a county jail inmate. Regions store their information in different places when it comes to their prison systems, but in most cases, both the courthouse and the local police stations would have this information available. Since an arrest is public knowledge, each municipality is required by law to release this type of information on request. County jails can also be contacted directly in some cases.

Some cases will require that a county jail inmate be transferred to another location, and prison systems are much less likely to give out this type of information. In these instances, it often helps to contact the different aspects of the legal system that were involved in the prosecution of the county jail inmate. The arresting officer or the district attorney, for example, could easily access a more thorough database to determine where the inmate is located. If each of these methods fails to produce results, contacting a public official or a private detective is often the easiest way to search for an incarcerated county jail inmate.

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    • It might be necessary to call county offices to locate an inmate.
      It might be necessary to call county offices to locate an inmate.
    • Some counties upload public records and post online the names of inmates in their custody.
      Some counties upload public records and post online the names of inmates in their custody.