In some states, it is difficult and time-consuming to track down the location of an inmate serving time there, but Florida laws and procedures make it relatively easy to locate an individual serving time in prison in the state. The Florida Department of Corrections offers an online inmate search that can answer these kinds of questions.
Inmates in Florida Correctional Facilities
Before attempting to track down inmate information in Florida, it is important to determine the type of facility in which the individual is being held because the management systems are very different.
Florida has 143 state penal institutions including 50 state prisons, 16 state annexes and seven private prison facilities. The state also has over 30 work camps for prisoners, several prisoner re-entry centers, two road prisons, and one prison forestry camp. Still other facilities exist to assist prisoners with training and reintegration. All of these are managed by the Florida Department of Corrections. Recently, state records showed some 100,000 inmates in the prison system.
Not everyone sentenced to serve time behind bars in Florida goes to state facilities, however. State prison facilities are only for individuals convicted of felonies whose sentences included a year or more in prison. Convicts with misdemeanor sentences of less than a year usually stay in the county jail for their entire term. The state has almost 100 county jails, each managed and operated by the sheriff’s office of that particular county. Some inmates in Florida are in federal prisons, as well.
Florida Department of Corrections Website
Anyone attempting to locate an inmate in a Florida state prison can do so online quite easily by using the search feature on the Florida Department of Corrections website. It can be accessed by clicking "Offender Search" at the top navigation bar, then selecting "Inmate Population Information Search" from the options.
To locate a particular inmate, provide the information requested. This includes the first and last names of the inmate and the identification number assigned to them. It is possible to search for only the name or only the ID number, but it is best to enter as much information about the inmate as possible to be sure that the person located is the correct individual.
Advanced Search Functions for Inmates
An advanced search allows input for information like race, sex, height, body weight and eye color. The search also allows input of the offender category, county of commitment, and current location, if these elements are known. After entering all relevant information available on the inmate locator, click "Submit Request" to generate the results.
All inmates meeting the search information will be listed in alphabetical order, including their names, identification numbers, race, sex, release date, current facility and birth date. Photographs and more detailed information are available by clicking on the inmate's name.
Note that there are a variety of searches available, including absconder/fugitive, inmate escapes, inmate population, inmate releases and supervised populations. The single search option "All Offenders Database" performs a comprehensive search of all of these databases. However, there are differences between various database information, so the search only provides search options for criteria common to all databases.
Florida Inmate Records
A person seeking to find the location of a Florida inmate can readily do so using the online search. If a person is seeking Florida inmate records, they are also available. Inmate records refer to all documents, forms and digital media that the state justice system has collected, created and stored relating to inmates. The inmate records available often include forms, photos and mugshots. They may also include more complex information like DNA evidence, fingerprints, and audio and video recordings.
Anyone seeking basic information like a Florida inmate's name, address, phone number, date of birth, gender, race, height, weight, hair and eye color, will likely find this information in their search. They might also locate details extracted from court records about the person’s crimes, sentencing and other court-mandated programs. However, while some Florida inmate records are public information, some records are kept private and will not be revealed in the inmate search. And inmates who apply for, and are granted, expungement after serving their entire sentence and following a waiting period, can have their criminal records hidden from public view.
Locating Florida County Jail Inmates
While the search engine provided by the Florida Department of Corrections makes it easy to search for someone in state prison, it does not provide any information about inmates in Florida's county jails. These inmates, sentenced to a year or less in a correctional institution, do not enter the state prison system.
Anyone wishing to track down an inmate in a county jail in Florida will first need to determine the county in which the person is incarcerated. There are 67 counties in the state, so it is useful to find the correct county before attempting to locate an inmate. It is necessary to check with the county sheriff's office to ask about how to search that county's jails for inmate information. The best first step is to visit the website of the county sheriff's office to see if it includes search tools or lists of inmates.
As an alternative, third-party tools are available to track down inmates in Florida. Such websites, like InfoTracer, use public records from all over the country. That means that it is possible to perform a nationwide search to find incarcerated inmates. Most, if not all, of these websites charge for searches, however.
- To locate prisoners who are wanted, have escaped from a Florida prison, have been released from a Florida prison, or are in a supervised population center through a parole program, visit the list of available database search tools on the Florida Department of Corrections website. For a list of all database search tools, click on "Offender Search" on the horizontal navigation bar at the top of the Florida Department of Corrections' website.
- If you want your search to run more quickly, uncheck the "Do not show photos on the Offender List page" box at the end of the main search page. You can also only search for prisoners with a photo.
- For guidelines on how to narrow down your search criteria, read the "Search Hints" section at the bottom of the main search page.
Teo Spengler earned a JD from U.C. Berkeley Law School. As an Assistant Attorney General in Juneau, she practiced before the Alaska Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court before opening a plaintiff's personal injury practice in San Francisco. She holds both an MA and an MFA in English/writing and enjoys writing legal blogs and articles. Her work has appeared in numerous online publications including USA Today, Legal Zoom, eHow Business, Livestrong, SF Gate, Go Banking Rates, Arizona Central, Houston Chronicle, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pearson, Quicken.com, TurboTax.com, and numerous attorney websites. Spengler splits her time between the French Basque Country and Northern California.