Finding out if someone is incarcerated is not as hard as most people think. There are a lot of services that will update when someone is incarcerated because it is public information. You just have to know which services are updated on a daily, if not hourly, basis. Nonpub.com suggests using http://www.theinmatelocator.com/ to find an inmate. It is a free service that will get you started on locating the inmate you are searching for.
How does someone locate an Inmate/Incarcerated Person?
First, find out what level of incarceration the inmate is being held. If you do not know, that is ok because you can search both State and Federal prisons without cost. Your search will just take longer because you will have to do an extra search. If you have searched both State and Federal databases from the above link and still did not get the results you desire, you may have to hire a private investigator. There can be strange circumstances where prisoners are transferred and released back into the public in a completely different state, usually left to their own devices. In such cases, a private investigator may be able to track down the inmate.
Does it cost money to locate an Inmate/Incarcerated Person?
Using the resources linked above yields a free search and will enable searching of both State and Federal databases for inmate locations. If, however, the inmate you are searching for is not found in either of these databases, it may cost money to track down and locate an inmate/incarcerated person. You may have to take alternate search avenues as the person may not be incarcerated as long as you were told, they may have been moved to another location, or they have changed their identity. There are many circumstances that can limit the results of searching online databases for inmate locations. In these specific cases, Nonpub.com suggests contacting a private investigator.
How long does it take to locate an Inmate/Incarcerated Person?
It can take seconds to weeks to locate where an inmate is being held prisoner. This is because government databases take time to update and then it takes time to update the servers of http://www.theinmatelocator.com/ to display the correct information. If the person you are searching has only recently been incarcerated, give it a few days for databases to be updated before you begin your search.
Nonpub.com suggests using http://www.theinmatelocator.com/ to find an inmate. It will be your first step in locating an inmate and if there are no results from State or Federal databases, then your next step will be to contact a private investigator. There are ways to get lost in the system and sometimes this is your only resort when trying to search for an inmate/incarcerated person. Incarceration data will become more readily available as more precincts and jails modernize.