Found a date online and I want to make sure his jail records are clean. I’ve always been wondering how my childhood friends are doing now - like who’s now a CEO, who’s chosen a career in politics or who’s in jail. Just started a business and can’t really juggle it with hands-on parenting but, of course, I don’t want an ex-con anywhere near my child. I don’t have anything against a person who has served time in jail, but it’s safe to know what their records say. These - and certainly a lot more - are the common reasons one might want to gain access to someone’s jail records.

If you’re one of those individuals, read on as we’ll be sharing with you here some efficient jail records search methods, as well as what data should you expect to see in such reports.

What Are Jail Records?

Court Records, Criminal Records, Vital Records, and Property Records, Jail Records are considered public records. Hence, as certain federal laws mandate, these are available and accessible by the general public. With varying guidelines or exemptions imposed by state laws, jail records should be easily obtained by anyone, even those that aren’t registered residents of the said state. Depending on the jurisdiction’s regulations, the requestor may or may not be required to provide a specific purpose for the said reports.

Jail records contain details and information about an individual who is currently detained, or who has ever spent time in jail. These records are maintained by respective county, city, and state government offices. The data found in jail records could vary, but in general, it comprises details about the person, the offense and the facility.

Who’s in Jail? How To Find People’s Jail Records

Acquiring public records, including jail records, has been made easier thanks to various technological innovations. Now, you can initiate a case search or jail records search in the comfort of your own home, without the need to physically visit the jail facility or the country records office.

Moreover, you have a few options for how to look up jail records. Here are the three most efficient ones.

  • Via Bureau of Corrections or Your State’s Public Records Custodian

    In most states, the Bureau of Corrections manages jail records. So unless there’s a specific or appointed public records custodian in your area, you could never go wrong reaching out to this government agency. In certain circumstances, of course, you may directly transact with the jail facility that holds the individual you’re searching on.

    These government offices usually allow different methods of acquiring jail records.

    • In-Person. Physical copies of jail reports can usually be acquired by personally getting in touch with the persons or the department handling such records. Again, you could visit satellite offices and directly reach out to the Bureau of Corrections, respective jail facility, law enforcement agency, County Sheriff’s Office, or your local police stations.
    • Mail/Email. The process may vary per jurisdiction but usually, you’ll simply need to file an official request by filling out a form via snail mail or electronic mail and you should be receiving the reports via the same method as you requested.
    • Phone/Fax. Some states allow jail record inquiries over the phone wherein you can simply jot down the details while you’re on the line, or you may call them and request the jail records to be sent over via fax.
    • Online. Most states have now digitized their public record repositories wherein anyone can simply navigate to their official site and access the specific web pages or windows to access jail records.
  • Via Criminal Background Check Processors (Local Office or FBI)

    Instead of specifically running jail records lookup, you could initiate a sex offender search or a criminal background check. This is recommended should you be needing all offense records of a person other than those that have led him to be detained in jail. These records grant you a broader coverage as it would show you all non-expunged arrest, conviction, and incarceration records, and not just kail records.

    You could coordinate with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), your State Department of Justice, or your county office permitted to run official background checks. Similarly, depending on local laws, these could be acquired in-person, over the phone, via mail, email, or online.

  • Via Third-Party Search Engines

    If you’re looking for an efficient and convenient way of accessing jail records, a paid third-party search engine such as ClickSearch would be your best option. Such high-end websites enable you to acquire valuable information just by typing in the person’s first and last name. This process is streamlined and automated so basically, all you have to do is type, wait, and browse.

    With ClickSearch , aside from jail records, you could also get ahold of court records, DUI records, criminal records, and various other public records. It has an extensive repository of information pulled out from reliable and official sources. Hence, aside from a hassle-free experience, you can expect accuracy and completeness.

    Here’s how to acquire copies of someone’s or your personal jail records from ClickSearch .

    1. Navigate to the ClickSearch Jail Records Search page.
    2. On the Search Bar, Input the first name, last name, and state.
    3. Click on the Search Icon, and wait for the progress bar to complete.
    4. Select Get Full Report, and if you haven’t done so yet, start a subscription.
    5. Download and/or browse the generated jail records.

What Information Do Jail Records Contain?

A jail or inmate lookup reveals detailed information about the person, the offense, and the facility. The information included on inmate search reports may vary depending on the state or jurisdiction but in most cases, here’s what would show up in your search results.

  • Personal Information
    • First and Last Name
    • Date of Birth and/or Age
    • Gender
    • Nationality/Race
    • Place of Birth
    • Height and Weight
    • Hair, Eyes, and Skin Color
    • Any Physical Identifying Marks (birthmarks, moles, tattoos)
  • Offense Details
    • Case Name
    • Case Type
    • Arrest records
    • Warrants
    • Appeals
    • All Charged/Convicted Misdemeanors and Felonies
    • Court Dates
    • Disposition
    • Projected Release Date or Discharge Date
  • Facility Details
    • Name of Jail Facility
    • Location of Jail Facility
    • Assigned Cell Number
    • Cell Mate/s
    • Inmate Identification Number

What’s The Difference Between Jail and Prison?

Jail and prison are similar in a way that they are both facilities used to detain people. However, though usually interchanged, there are slight differences, especially in the purpose and their governing bodies.

  • Jails are used for short-term holding while prisons are used for long-term holding.
  • Jails serve as immediate detention facilities for arrested individuals or those waiting to be transferred to prison.
  • Jails house arrested or charged individuals that are unable to post bail while prisons house individuals charged with non-bailable cases.
  • Jails are facilities for individuals who have committed minor offenses, misdemeanors, or less serious state crimes while prisons are for those who have committed serious state crimes or are charged with federal offenses.
  • Jails are run by the local government and county sheriff’s offices while prisons are run by states or the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Thanks to technology, there are now easier and more accessible ways how to find people's jail records. However, though considered public records and are technically open for anyone, be sure to be responsible enough in handling the data you get to acquire about a specific individual. Such information should never be used to intentionally harm anyone.