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How to look up prisoners and prison records

You can search for prisoners and prison records based on when and where someone was incarcerated. Find out how to look up federal, state, or local prison records.

Look up state and local prison records

For state and local prison records, contact the state's department of corrections.

Look up federal prison records from 1870 to present

Recent federal prison records (1982 - present)

Locate or learn about an inmate

Use the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) inmate locator to find out when a prisoner is or was expected to be released.

To learn more details about an inmate, find out how to submit a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to BOP.

Get a copy of your own prison records

If you are looking for your own prison records, complete and submit Form DOJ-361 along with a FOIA request. This form helps BOP confirm your identity so your private prison records are not wrongfully disclosed.

Federal prison records 1870 - 1981

Find prisoner records prior to 1982 from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). To learn more about finding BOP records, contact NARA.

NARA also has indexes of inmates once held at Alcatraz, Leavenworth, and other federal prisons. Search by name for former inmates at each location to see if they served time there. 

You may be able to order copies of prisoners' records through NARA if they are available. Include the following information about the inmate in your request:

  • Name (including middle name or initial)
  • Date of birth or approximate age at the time of incarceration
  • Race
  • Approximate dates in prison

LAST UPDATED: January 31, 2024


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