Best Ways to Find Someone in Jail

There are several reasons why one may be searching for a person in jail. Perhaps you are searching for a friend or family member who has gone missing, or you’re pretty sure a friend got arrested but you just don’t know where, and you need information. Going to the authorities is a good way to go, but it might take a while— even missing person cases require a 24-hour period from the time of reporting before authorities can swing into action.

There are, however, other ways to find people in jail that you can carry out yourself. The following is some key information to help you get started.


First things first

Jail and prison are not quite the same. They are not both designed to hold offenders, but they differ in the type of offenders they hold, the time period of incarceration, the daily schedule of incarcerated persons, and the government in charge of maintenance and operations.

For one, jails are used to hold offenders given short sentences, offenders charged with misdemeanors, and offenders yet to be convicted of felonies. A prison, on the other hand, is built for offenders who have been convicted of felonies and face longer sentences.

Also, a jail is operated and maintained by local government agencies, counties, and other local forms of government. Prisons are run by the state or federal government— ergo state and federal prisons.


Locating an inmate in a federal prison

If the person you are searching for is being held in a prison, then you may want to visit the Federal Bureau of Prisons website— the BOP for short. They have records on every prisoner from about 1985 to the present date.

You’ll need to gather some background information on the first, like their name. You might need a bit more information such as age, race, and sex to narrow your search, as some names are quite generic and can turn up several inmates.


Locating an inmate in a state prison

To find an inmate incarcerated in state prison, you’ll need to first find out where the person was convicted. The state where they were convicted will most likely be the state they are imprisoned. Once you know the state they are being incarcerated in, you can go to the state’s department of corrections website and initiate a search using the inmate’s full name. You can also use the National Center for State Courts website, the NCSC, to browse courts to find where they may have been convicted.


Locating an inmate in jail

Jails are maintained by either the state or county local government they are located in. When it comes to locating people held in jails, you’ll need to be a bit more specific in your search. You’ll need, in addition to their full legal name, age, sex and race, the county where they were charged.

This might be a bit complicated it you do not know the county or local government where they were arrested. For example, if you only know that they were arrested somewhere in Nebraska, then it might be a bit of a task locating which county your friend is being held, as there are 93 of them. Alternatively, you could go to the authorities. But if time is paramount in your bid to find a friend or family who might be held in jail, then it pays to just get it done yourself.

Luckily, there are third-party services that specialize in finding people in jail. These services generally provide a platform for searching for missing people. One of such is Go Look Up. They aid your search for persons in jail and can help narrow down your search. So you could perform a Nebraska inmate search, like in our example above, and get custom, narrowed-down results.

Whatever your motive may be, you may need to access the arrest record of an inmate. Whether you choose to enlist the help of a security professional or go about it alone, be sure to gather as much data as you can to increase your chances of finding the information you need. 

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