How to Find Free Public Jail Records

By Shannon Johnson
There are ways to obtain free public jail records.

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In the event that you would need to find jail records for either a current inmate or a released one, there are ways to obtain one without having to pay a cent for it. Your ability to find these records depend on the amount of information you know about the person and their arrest and whether the sheriff's office of the county in which he/she was arrested has a website with inmate search capabilities. For the counties that do, here is one way of how to get those records for free.

Gather all the information you can about the person and their arrest. At minimum, you will need the most basic information, starting with the date on which they were arrested. Other information that would be helpful in the search is: full legal name (first and last), date of birth (month/day/year), booking and/or release date. The most helpful piece of information would be a booking number. Knowing the county in which they were jailed is also necessary.

Look up the county's sheriff's office website and go to their Arrest/Inmate information. Most county sheriff's offices have a website that, among other things, provides information about county safety, fugitives that they are looking for and the county jail. They give information on how to communicate, visit and send packages to inmates that are currently in jail as well as have an inmate lookup or arrest inquiry section. Once you have searched for and found the sheriff office website (an example of search keywords would be "name of county state sheriff's office"), enter the website and go to their section about inmates/arrest records.

Enter information into search inquiries. Using the information that was gathered in the first step, you should be able to find the jail records of any inmate that had been jailed in that county, especially if that person has only recently been incarcerated. Enter the information that you have into the search fields available, using as much information as you can to make certain that you enter accurate responses. Once you have entered all the information that you can, make sure that you spelled everything to match the legal information as well as put in the correct month, day and year in the correct format (ie. mm/dd/yyyy or dd/mm/yyyy) for all the dates entered. The results from the search should come up.

About the Author

Shannon Johnson has been a freelance writer since 2008, specializing in health and organic and green-living topics. She practiced law for five years before moving on to work in higher education. She writes about what she lives on a daily basis.

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