Locate prison inmates Online.
State Inmate Search
The key to locating a prison inmate is knowing which prison system they are incarcerated with, and determining whether the inmate is in a state prison or a federal prison. When it comes to locating a prisoner in a state prison, it is helpful to know which state system the inmate is a part of at the time. Note that if you are trying to contact a friend, relative or acquaintance in a state prison system, the rules for contacting that inmate will vary based on the state where the prisoner is jailed.
The Typical Process
- Start by determining which state system the prisoner is serving time at. You can use a variety of resources on the web to help you find the inmate you are looking for and the prison system they are associated with for their sentence. Websites that will provide you with the most accurate results include AncestorHunt.com, Corrections Connection and VineLink.
- Once you have determined which state system the prisoner is in, you can use that prison system's resources to locate a particular inmate. For instance, in the State of Florida, interested parties can use a prisoner information search page in order to locate which prison an inmate is at within the system.
- If you are struggling to locate a particular inmate, be sure to make sure the prisoner was not released. Many state prison systems will have search engines to help you determine who has recently been released. You may also want to look into parole lists, county jail inmate lists and federal prison inmate lists to make sure you aren't looking for an inmate in the wrong spot.
Contacting a State Prison Inmate
- After you have determined which state prison system an inmate is serving time in, you must check with that system to see what their rules and regulations are regarding contact between members of the public and inmates. Each system has its own rules.
- In general, most prisons will not allow people from the public to contact inmates via telephone calls. For the most part, prisoners are not allowed to receive telephone calls, as they are restricted to placing outgoing calls on their own. In Florida, for instance, inmates cannot receive phone calls but family members can contact the prison chaplain in the case of a personal emergency situation. When inmates do initiate an outgoing phone call, most prison systems provide them with a limited amount of time to speak on the phone. For example, prisoners in California have a 15-minute phone conversation limit.
- Most prison systems allow people to contact inmates via regular mail. This is the case in the State of California. In order to contact a state prison inmate in California, letter writers must include the following information: prisoner's first and last name and CDC number, name of the prison, the P.O. box associated with the prison and the city, state and zip code of the institution.
- Family members, friends and interested individuals can use public records and public information officers to help determine an inmate's CDC identification number, which is important to have if you are trying to contact an inmate. In California, people who are looking to contact state prison inmates must contact the prison's Public Information Officer or work with the inmate locator at the individual prison where the inmate is assigned.
Once you have determined where a prisoner is located and what prison system they are a part of, contacting them is not very difficult. Recognize that it can take some time for prisoners to receive mail. It is the individual prisoner's prerogative whether to respond or not to an inquiry. Some prisoners feel comfortable corresponding with friends, family members, clergy and people in the general population. On the other hand, other prisoners prefer to keep to themselves during their incarceration. While it may seem a bit antiquated, reaching out to a prisoner via the regular mail is your best option. An inmate will contact you via phone if they are so inclined and if they are allowed to do so by the prison staff. By following the steps and proper protocol, you will be able to communicate with a friend or relative who is currently serving time in a state prison.
Select a State to view Search Instructions
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia