How to use the federal inmate locator

The military prison system can seem huge and complex. However, finding an inmate in the United States military prison system is actually simpler than you might think, since all inmates are listed in the federal Bureau of Prisons database.

The Military Prison System

The military prison system is set up to confine members of the military convicted of crimes (under the Uniform Code of Military of Justice), prisoners of war, people who create a national security risk and unlawful combatants. A military prison holds enemy combatants, prisoners of war, service members convicted of crimes and people who pose a risk of national security. Military prisons generally break down into two types: penal and confinement. Penal prisons are similar to regular prisons. They are meant to punish and possibly rehabilitate the prisoners. Military personnel convicted of crimes go to these prisons. Confinement prisons are used to hold prisoners captured during war. As of the end of 2016, 1,300 military personnel were being held in U.S. military prisons. There are currently 40 detainees who originated as enemy combatants and are being held in Guantanamo.

Locating a Military Prisoner

All military prisoners are listed in a federal prison database which is searchable online. To find the database, go to Choose the Inmates category, then Find an Inmate. You can search for an inmate by a prisoner’s name or Bureau of Prisons number. The database lists current prisoners as well as any released after 1982. If you’re looking for a military prisoner released before 1982, search the National Archives.

How to Visit a Military Prisoner

After you have located the prisoner in the federal prison database and determined where he is currently being held, contact the facility directly for details about visits. Generally, you request to visit the inmate, and the inmate must agree and place you on the approved visitor list. Once a visit is approved and scheduled, be sure to get familiar with the rules of the facility, including what you can bring with you, as well as the clothing items you are permitted to wear while visiting. For example, at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, prisoners’ visiting schedules are determined by whether their inmate number is an odd or even number. Further, a visitor to Fort Leavenworth can be denied if a previous relationship with the prisoner cannot be proven. Visitors cannot bring in purses, but can bring in clear change bags with up to $20. As another example, at Marine Corps Camp Pendleton Brig, in California, visitors must go through an electronic search. Visitors cannot wear clothing that is dirty or torn. The only personal items visitors can bring are one small toy and a non-glass baby bottle if a child is part of the visit.

To find a person in a United States military prison, search the Federal Bureau of Prisons database.

Inmate parole release date information is available through online databases and by mobile app. Most states have their own systems and are also part of a national network, and the federal prison system maintains its own program.

Use VINELink to Keep Tabs on Inmate Parole Information

The Victim Information and Notification Everyday (VINE) network pools information from 2,900 agencies in 48 states. It doesn’t track information on state prisoners located in South Dakota or Maine. The VINELink system provides up-to-date inmate parole information and changes in status. Registering for the service is free.

Users may track inmate parole status through VINE in three ways:

  • Online through
  • Over the free VINELink mobile app.
  • By calling 1-866-277-7477 (press Option 2).

VINELink also keeps track of important court dates, case information and changes to protection orders.

Track Federal Prisoners Through

The Federal Bureau of Prisons maintains the online Inmate Locator Information database. This lists anyone incarcerated since 1982 in a federal facility, including:

  • Offenders convicted of felonies.
  • Suspects held before trial.
  • Material witnesses detained for trial purposes.

System records list the intended release date of a prisoner. This can change over time if the offender gets parole or has his sentence extended. Records indicate where the inmate is currently held or if his sentence is complete. Users need to check back periodically, as there is no way to register for notifications, as of 2020.

When an inmate leaves the prison system, the entry lists a release date. Release dates identified as “unknown” signify a non-determined sentence limit, such as pre-trial holds. Location results listed as “unknown” refer to inmates transferred to non-federal facilities. These include work release programs, home confinement and drug rehabilitation facilities.

Track State and County Inmate Custody and Release

The Department of Corrections (DOC) in any state has relevant inmate parole information. Many have their own digital portals where users can log in and search for prisoners by name, number or other identifying factors. Interested parties can find these databases by visiting DOC websites or by searching for “[state] inmate release information” or “[state] inmate locator.” For instance, searching in a web browser for “Washington inmate release information” returns the result for the Washington Inmate Data Search page.

Following are a couple examples of states’ policies and inmate information systems.

How to Find an Inmate Parole Release Date in Maine

Maine law protects the privacy of inmates in state custody by limiting access to parole status information to specific people involved in their cases. Only victims of serious crimes can request location and parole notification on the offenders. Once approved, the state informs the victim before the prisoner gets out of jail. This is true for the release at the end of a sentence and also for conditional release and similar programs.

Victims request this information online or through the prosecutor’s office. Maine law protects the privacy of victims by keeping these requests confidential.

How to Receive Parole Status Updates in South Dakota

South Dakota maintains its own Statewide Automated Victim Information & Notification network, South Dakota SAVIN. The state updates the database 24/7 to provide the public with accurate inmate location and release information. Registered users can receive automated updates whenever inmate status changes. Registrants can also track the progress of court cases and relevant orders. Registration is free and confidential.

County courthouses and local law enforcement websites often have similar online databases. People can also contact them directly for updates. County information is usually available through the Clerk of Court’s office. has compiled all of its data on locating federal prisoners in this section. You can search the Federal Bureau of Prisoners for federal inmates in all 50 states. If you find a problem or missing link in the inmate locator section, please report it so we can update it and help our viewers locate the federal inmates they are trying to find. We will add information on locating federal inmates to this section as it becomes available online. We are unable to help one on one with locating prisoners. All information is made available here in our Federal Inmate Prisoner Locator section.

Search for Federal Inmates Online:

Tips for Locating Federal Inmates:

You may search the Federal Bureau of Prisons database using the inmate’s register number, DCDC number, FBI number, INS number, or by using the inmate’s first and last name. You can conduct your Search Here

Or, call the national Inmate Locator number at 202-307-3126, 8:00 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. weekdays, EST. Time. Be patient. There may be a a lengthy hold time.

If you choose to e-mail them, please do not be vague. They will not respond if you do not provided adequate information. E-mail For Federal Prison Support.

You can also write the Federal Bureau of Prisons directly at:

Freedom of Information Act Office
Office of General Counsel
Federal Bureau of Prisons
320 First Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20534

Be sure to include the name and any available information on the person you are inquiring about. Also, be sure to include your own contact information.

For Federal inmates released before 1982, please write to:

Office of Communications and Archives
Federal Bureau of Prisons
320 First St., N.W., Washington, DC 20534
Attn: Historic Inmate Locator Request.

Please include as much identifying information as possible – name, including middle name/initial if known, aliases, date of birth, race, crime, approximate dates in prison, name of prison, etc. The more information you provide, the more quickly the request can be processed.

If you need to write or call a federal prison, see: Federal Prison Addresses and Contact Numbers for a complete list of phone numbers, fax numbers and postal addresses.

How to use the federal inmate locator

The Federal Inmate Locator is a giant database containing information about all inmates who have been incarcerated from 1982 to the present. This service is provided for and managed by the Federal Bureau of Prisons and may be accessed online. The locator also contains records of people who have been taken into custody with the Federal Bureau of Prisons but did not serve time for reasons such as dismissal of charges, etc.

Basically, the Federal Inmate Locator is an extremely helpful tool in identifying where an inmate is housed, as well as other personal details such as their date of birth, race, etc. For certain states, local inmate locators are being used for information regarding inmates in local penitentiaries and do not contain the information of those detained outside the state. For example, Denver inmate search will only provide information of inmates in these locations:

  • County Jail
  • Denver Health & Hospital
  • Downtown Detention Center

Learning how to use this impressive tool is surprisingly easy. All you have to do is provide identifying information regarding the person you’re searching for. The information must be accurate to be able to generate an output.

Here are the steps on how to use the Federal Inmate Locator:

Step 1

How to use the federal inmate locator

Gather information about the inmate you’re trying to look for. The best chance of finding a match would be to provide an identification number, such as a Register Number. These may be indicated on records and written correspondence. If you don’t have access to this information, then you can also use their name. Just make sure to input their correct first and last names, including the proper spelling.

Step 2

How to use the federal inmate locator

In your preferred Internet browser, enter the following URL on the search bar: . This will take you to the Bureau of Prisons website.

Step 3

How to use the federal inmate locator

Look for the ‘Inmates’ on the main menu or nav bar. From the drop-down menu, click on “Inmate Locator”.

Step 4

How to use the federal inmate locator

If you need more information regarding the Inmate Locator, you may click the ‘More Information’ link which can be found at the top right-hand side of the page, or right below the search bar in the middle of the screen.

Step 5

How to use the federal inmate locator

If you have the identification number for the inmate you’re looking for, you can use the ‘Search by ID Number’ tab found in the middle of the screen. From the drop-down box next to ‘Type of Number’, select the box indicated ‘Choose the proper type of ID number’.

They have different options as to what type of number you can present:

  • Register Number
  • DCDC Number
  • FBI Number
  • INS Number

Step 6

How to use the federal inmate locator

If you were not able to get an identification number, you can use the ‘Search by Name’ option. Type in a first and last name (they must both be spelled correctly as there are no Boolean or advanced options).

You may also filter the results by race and sex, which you can find on the drop-down menu. In the ‘Age’ box, enter the person’s age.

Step 7

How to use the federal inmate locator

You’re almost done! All you have to do now is click the ‘Search’ button. This will open a new page that will display all the results that match your description of the inmate. The information they provide will include the following:

  • Full Name
  • Register Number
  • Age
  • Race
  • Sex
  • Release date

The Denver inmate lookup service is updated on a daily basis to ensure that all the information you find is as complete and accurate as possible. To say this tool is impressive would be a massive understatement.

How to use the federal inmate locatorThis guide will explain the process of finding inmates from federal locations across the United States. Our federal inmate locator guide will break down the process of finding the correct prison system in your state and how to find inmates from an online search from a department of corrections website.

The federal prison system is controlled and operated by the jurisdiction of the federal government. unlike state prisons that are, you guessed it controlled by the state. If someone violates federal law they are put into a federal prison. Inmates are that considered to be dangerous or those inmates that are facing long prison terms are usually inside a federal prison.

BOP Federal Inmate search

The Federal Bureau of Prisons or BOP is responsible for passing The Prisons Act that took place in 1981. The BOP is a resource for those looking for a federal inmate locator tool online. the BOP is responsible for many things. Within the federal prison system, they are responsible for the custody and well being of inmates within a federal system, the administration of federal prisons systems, and provide background information and stats about the Federal Prison System.

Here is how to start off a BOP federal inmate locator search using the BOP website.

  1. Access the website here

The most common way to search would be that of a first and last name.

How to use the federal inmate locator

The records from the BOP contain data from inmates released after 1982. If your looking for information on inmates before 1982 you may have to search for records for a different system. Not all inmate data was inputed into the BOP system prior to 1982 and because of this a lot of these records may be found by the National Archives Website. You can read more here.

Inmate Search from the DOC

To start an inmate search it will help if you know what state the inmate is being held at. This will allow us to find the department of corrections for that state to locate the federal inmate easier.

Here is an example of how to find the department of corrections online quickly by just using Google.

Use this search string, and just change the state to the state your looking for.

“Florida + Department of Corrections”

How to use the federal inmate locator

Just change the state to the stat your looking for to find the DOC for your state. All Department of Corrections has a way to search for inmates. Simply find the inmate search from the website and search by a first and last name, or a unique inmate number if they allow that. Most do.

Find inmate data from third-party search services

The use of a search service can help anyone find public record data. In fact, it is a very quick way to search for federal, state, and county data by a first and last name. Using this service someone can find criminal records, warrants, court documents, inmate data, and more with a single name search. This is a great tool to combine with other online methods mentioned above help locate federal inmate records. This method will also let you find important court case information on an inmate.

Visiting a federal inmate

There are certain steps that must be followed in order to visit a federal inmate. Certain forms have to be filled out. By law, federal inmates get at least 4 hours a month for visitation. Do keep in mind that state and local correctional systems may have there set of rules for visitation.

To learn more about visiting a federal inmate start your search here.

Sending money to a federal inmate

You can also send money to a federal inmate. if the inmate is at a BOP facility then you can use this link to learn more. Funds are processed and received 7 days a week and depending on when funds are deposited they are typically received within 2-4 hours.

When using any of the above federal inmate locator methods keep in mind that inmate data changes quickly there are times that a result is either not updated or in the process of being update so you may have to check back to make sure the record and data your seeing is the most updated version. You should be able to find inmate records by using the above resources directly online with not much trouble.

About Adam Smith

Adam Smith has been writing about public record data for almost 5 years and is a major contributor to When Adam is not writing content you can find him on the water trying to land the next big fish.

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The Federal Bureau of Prison (BOP) manages all inmate records for people incarcerated in federal prisons throughout the United States. Anyone who violates federal law and is sent to prison has a criminal record that is a collaboration of everything that has happened to them since they were arrested.

These records will include the person’s name and any aliases they use, their age, race, gender, release date, and where they are being detained. These records are updated daily and are publicly accessible so you can perform federal inmate search with pictures and find someone using just their name.

How To Search and Locate Inmates Held in Federal Prisons?

The BOP keeps an extensive database maintained on every federally incarcerated inmate. You can use a federal inmate locator system to find federal inmate case information and the facility prisoners are held in, if you want to visit or send them money.

You can also use online search portals to search for a federal inmate and get a report including their entire criminal history, all charges, offenses, sentences, and other jail stays.

There may be additional information available per the Freedom of Information Act, and you can fill out Form DOJ-361 to inquire further about someone to get more details about them.

Federal Prison Inmate Search & History

Before 1891, federal prisons existed but operated autonomously without any government involvement. Then the Three Prisons Act in 1891 changed that, and the federal government opened three prisons and self-managed them. Before 1907 the Justice Department’s General Agent handled all federal prison matters. Once abolished, the new Office of the Superintendent of Prisons and Prisoners took over in the 1920s. This entity eventually evolved into the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) around 1930.

President Herbert Hoover oversaw the first BOP, tasking it with "management and regulation of all Federal penal and correctional institutions." At that time there were only 11 federal prisons to manage. By 1940 it grew to 24 institutions and 24,360 inmates incarcerated in the federal prison system.

Alaska is the only state that retains jurisdiction over their correctional system. They declared this independence on January 3, 1959. Before that, the BOP managed their inmates. All information about federal inmates can be found through the federal prison inmate search tool online.

Federal Inmates and Their Charges

Federal prison inmates are people who have committed federal crimes and broken strict felony laws. Many are quite dangerous and violent and will end up in facilities best equipped to handle them during their stay.

Men and women are housed in different prisons or buildings for safety and ease of management. They are kept completely separate to maintain inmate and employee protection.

The majority (58.3%) of federal inmates are white (106,913), and 37.8% (69,244) are black. The remaining are Native American (2.3%) and Asian (1.6%).

Nationwide and State Inmate Search Records and Locator

Federal Inmate public records give us particulars and also the status of all those currently incarcerated. Typically inmate records are readily available post 1982 but reports can vary from state to state. Many inmate records prior to 1982 are held within national archives but are being transferred in order to be made available electronically. Those charged with state crimes and who are unable to post bail are kept within a county jail facility. Those charged in respect of federal offenses can also be housed in county jail facilities while their case is pending. County jails are contracted by the federal government for this. Individuals can remain in a county gaol if convicted of state crimes or for more serious felonies can be moved to a state prison. Those convicted of a federal crime will be committed to a federal penitentiary or prison.

The results and information are from a vast database and you have unlimited searches available. Inmate records are very important for every state; hence the database is maintained by efficient law enforcement entities and/or any other suitable, appropriate or responsible person contracted or otherwise. Laws and sentencing will vary from state to state. For Federal inmate public records, court records and arrest records please use the above search fields. Only a first and last name (surname) are required along with the last known state or birth state and/or simply select ALL STATES. The search function will trawl local, state and/or federal correction agencies.

Please note that while most states will release a prisoner’s date of birth some states have now restricted this due to identity theft. The Arizona Department of Corrections for instance currently withhold an inmate’s date of birth. Inmates are allowed to receive their report once a year however pursuant to R.S. Section 31-221 (E) an inmate does not have access to any other inmate’s records save his own. If an inmate is found to be in possession of another inmate’s record that has been sent to him the report shall be considered as contraband. Those responsible will be liable under A.R.S section 13-2505 to prosecution. Promoting prison contraband is classed as a Class 5 felony and carries a possible two and a half years sentence in the Department of Corrections. Federal inmate public records are also maintained for what may well be viewed as a safety net for victims and their families and to promote public safety.

The information available will be the date of birth subject to the relevant states view on GDPR and identity theft but your initial search will present you with an approximate age. Remember if the county, state or federal facility has withheld an inmate’s date of birth this will be available under other references such as DUI Records (if applicable), warrants, arrest records, driving infractions and so on. Also widely available will be the inmate’s incarceration identification number (DOC number) along with the specific facility where the offender is held. Inmate records from State to State may also include those on probation or parole along with a list of felonies. Some Department of Correction centres will also hold names of individuals who have served their time and/or satisfied their sentence (Idaho DOC). State DOC centres may also hold the date the inmate was initially incarcerated along with the sentencing court that referred the individual to the prison. Further the penal code section that the inmate was convicted over. The prisoner’s scheduled release date (if applicable) and to a record of prior incarceration for previous offences. Information may well encompass supervisees as well as county jail credit time, race/ethnicity, supervision conditions, good behavior, facility movement, supervision discharge, execution date, legal financial obligations (fines) and parole dates.

Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) is a law enforcement agency responsible for regulating and administering all the federal prisons in USA. There are currently 145 BOP facilities and correctional centers.

Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) Incarceration Statistics:

  • Total Federal Inmates Currently Incarcerated: 166,203
  • Number of Male Federal Inmates: 154,931
  • Number of Female Inmates: 11,272
    * Per 2017 US DOJ Bureau of Justice Statistics based on 2017 sentenced federal prisoners.

Federal Inmate Search

Step 1: Visit the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) inmate locator page, where you will see the following search option:

How to use the federal inmate locator

Step 2: If known, use any of the following prisoner number based searches using the Find by Number tab:

  • BOP Registered Number
  • DCDC Number
  • FBI Number
  • INS Number

Otherwise, select the Find by Name tab and enter a first name and last name of the federal offender, plus any addition information you have to narrow the results.

How to use the federal inmate locator

Following this, click the ‘Search’ button.

Step 3: You will receive the results of your search, which will include the full name, age, gender, release date and location of the federal inmate. If an offender is still under sentence, you will see a blue link in the location results.

Step 4: If a blue location link is available, clicking on it will take you to the location of the prisoner’s federal correction facility, including a full address, telephone number and email address. You will also find information federal prison visiting hours and how to contact inmates.

How to use the federal inmate locator

Headquarter Address:
Federal Bureau of Prisons
320 First St., NW
Washington, DC 20534
Office Hours: 8:00am to 5:00pm EST Monday – Friday
(202) 307-3198
Email: [email protected]

Searchable Federal Prison Directory
The Federal Bureau of Prisons provides a federal prison database, which can be used to find all federal prisons by region, state, security level, and more. Below you will also find a list of federal prison locations.