How Do I Locate a Prisoner?

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Criminal Defense Attorney

If your loved one is in jail or prison, it can be difficult to keep track of their location as the government moves them from facility to facility. You can usually locate a prisoner by using a website maintained by the government for that purpose. However, the particular website changes depending on where your loved one is located. The criminal defense lawyers can assist in your search if you have questions.

For federal inmates, you can use the Bureau of Prisons Inmate Locator which is found here: https://www.bop.gov/Locate However, if you’re looking for someone in federal custody who has been transferred out to testify at a trial or who is in transit from one facility to another, you likely won’t find accurate, if any, information on the Inmate Locator.

When the US Marshals are moving a federal inmate, they often use a combination of federal and local facilities. For someone in transit, if you know the state they’re going to (or passing through), you can used Vinelink. Sometimes you can find the inmate by searching the states between where the inmate started and where you expect they’ll end. However, keep in mind that the USMS doesn’t usually take the most direct route from point A to point B. Many of their trips go through Oklahoma or Georgia.

In most states, Vinelink can be used to locate a state or local inmate. You can find Vinelink by clicking here: https://vinelink.com Simply select your state and then search by name. Not all counties in all states participate with Vinelink, but this is a pretty good starting place to find someone in custody, if you know which state they’re being held in. However, this won’t show federal inmates.

Many states also maintain websites showing state inmates in correctional facilities.

  • You can find Michigan state prisoners here: https://mdocweb.state.mi.us/otis2/otis2.html
  • You can find Indiana state prisoners here: https://www.in.gov/apps/indcorrection/ofs/ofs
  • You can find Ohio state prisoners here: https://appgateway.drc.ohio.gov/OffenderSearch
  • You can find Illinois state prisoners here: https://www2.illinois.gov/idoc/Offender/Pages/InmateSearch.aspx
  • You can find Wisconsin state prisoners here: https://appsdoc.wi.gov/lop/
  • You can find Kentucky state prisoners here: http://kool.corrections.ky.gov
  • You can find Tennessee state prisoners here: https://apps.tn.gov/foil/

For most states, you can simply Google “state prison inmate search” and find a website for the state prison system that will allow you to look up inmate details. However, if you’re considering visiting or sending mail, it is advisable to contact the facility first to determine whether the inmate is actually there and what rules they have about visitation or mail. Many facilities require advance appointments for visitation and some have very restrictive rules about mail coming into the facility.