How to Do an Inmate Search: Tips and Secrets for a Successful Search

iEditorial Note: These blog posts represent the opinion of DoNotPay’s Writers, but each person’s situation and circumstances vary greatly. As a result, you should make sure to do your own independent research. Because everyone is unique, our self-help tools are never guaranteed to help with any specific situation. DoNotPay is not a law firm, is not licensed to practice law, and is not equivalent to the services of a licensed lawyer. DoNotPay provides a platform for legal information and self-help, and does not offer legal services. Third party news articles mentioned on our website do not necessarily reflect the views of the company, or the current services that we offer.

How to Do an Inmate Search: Tips and Secrets for a Successful Search

Keeping in touch with loved ones in prison should be easy, but it's not. Inmates are moved around all the time, and the prison systems in each state are very strict about how prisoners are contacted.

Just to write a letter to a prisoner, you need their full name, the facility they're in, their prisoner ID number, and sometimes their specific housing unit inside the corrections center.

To get all of this information, you need to first . There are free online databases, but navigating these databases with the information available is not always easy.

This is why so many predatory services have started charging a fee for inmate searches. So how do you navigate an inmate search with the best chances for success? Use DoNotPay for fast, easy and reliable results.

Never Pay for an Inmate Search

First and foremost, never pay for an . The information is free if you know how to look for it.

  • By knowing your inmate's name and the state they were imprisoned in, you can almost always find your prisoner in the system.
  • These programs are offering paid look-ups for a research resource that is already free.
  • Likewise, you don't have to be a database expert, there are free inmate search services on the internet.

The More You Know About the Prisoner, the Better

Finding a prisoner in the inmate search system can be meticulous, especially if your loved one's name is relatively common. The more you know, the more likely you are to succeed at your inmate search.

Information You Need to Complete an Inmate Search

  • Inmate's full name, middle name included
  • State in which inmate is incarcerated
  • Inmate’s date of birth
  • Specific facility inmate is located at

How to Change Your Inmate Search for Better Results

Let's say you search for the first and last name of an inmate in X state, and the list is too long, or completely empty. There are too many John Smiths, or not a single Jon Smith in the results. From there, you need a little archive search technique.

The secret to a successful inmate search is knowing how to see different search results from the archive.

For example, searching with more parameters, like adding a middle name, will result in fewer results. But if you need to see more results because your friend might be listed other than their printed name, you can search with fewer results to broaden the search parameters for your result set.

This broadening and narrowing can help find your friend in an imperfectly accurate system. Try these options if you’re struggling to connect with an inmate.

  1. Search with the middle name
  2. Search with middle initial
  3. Sort by date of birth
  4. Search with progressively fewer keywords to broaden the search
  5. Search for an alias or nickname with the same last name
  6. Search for just the last name
  7. Search last name with first initial

Difficulties You May Encounter

Contacting an inmate requires precision and adherence to the exact facility rules for your form of contact. To talk to an inmate on the phone, you need to set up a prepaid phone account with the phone partner of the prison.

  • To send a letter to your inmate friend, you need the detailed results of an inmate search including their prisoner ID and exact location for the letter to reach them.
  • You also need to adhere to envelope type and content regulations for your letter to make it through.
  • To receive letters in return, your inmate needs to know an absolute address that will receive them.
  • To visit your inmate friend, you need to apply and be approved for the visiting list, and arrive at the often-strange visiting hours allowed for your prison.

All of this hinges on a successful inmate search. DoNotPay can help.

Get in Touch With Your Loved Ones via DoNotPay

DoNotPay is one of the best ways to get a quick, accurate, no-charge inmate search every time. In fact, we've built a suite of services to help loved ones stay in contact with their inmate friends and family without the usual hassle.

We'll conduct your inmate search using the first and last name and the state your inmate is imprisoned in.

From there, we can also print and mail letters (and uploaded images) in perfectly prepared envelopes so your letters always get to them.

We can also receive prisoner letters and scan them into your digital inbox for an easy email-like correspondence going around the usual corrections center rigamarole.

DoNotPay Can Help You Locate Your Imprisoned Friend

Just follow these easy steps.

  1. Locate the Connect With an Inmate service on DoNotPay.

  2. Choose whether you want to locate a loved one, create a virtual mailbox, or send a personalized letter.

  3. If you want us to find your loved one, provide his or her personal details and the state they are located in. We'll then conduct a search on the appropriate state database.

  4. If you want to create a virtual mailbox, just provide your full name! We'll set one up for you so you can easily receive incoming mail from your loved one.

  5. If sending a personalized letter, tell us which facility your loved one is located in and what you would like to say to them. You can even include a photo! Your letter will be delivered automatically - just wait 10 days for it to arrive to your loved one!

What Else Can DoNotPay Do?

What else can DoNotPay do for your family? Here are just a few more ways we can save you time and headaches this year.

DoNotPay was founded on the idea of making difficult things easy - especially those parts of life that are not as simple as they should be. Let us help you conduct a fast and successful inmate search and make it easy to start trading letters.

Want your issue solved now?