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Records Pedia

What Are Inmate Records?

Inmate records provide information about those who were or are incarcerated. Incarceration occurs prior to or during a person’s punishment after being found guilty of a criminal action. Each state sets the rules about these types of records, including if they are made available to the general public and, if so, what information is released. The goal of these records is not to provide the public with a means of harassing the individual but rather as a public detailing of the individual’s location and criminal history.

Inmate records are kept by the department of corrections or other statewide agency that governments corrections. This may include the local facilities, but most jails will have a governing agency at the state level that gathers and records all details for access by other law enforcement agencies and for the public. It is possible for many of these records to become accessible to the public.

The jail and inmate records are meant to provide information on both current and previous inmates for that facility. Inmate status, as it is called, documents the current status of the information such as whether he or she is currently serving or is no longer incarcerated. These records may also provide information about the location of the individual, including information about which level of security the individual is in or information about the type of confinement, such as minimal or maximum security. This information is very helpful in locating and keeping track of inmates.

Most of the time, the department of corrections within the state provide a database that maintains this information for the general public and for law enforcement, courts and other government organizations to gather. This information is often searchable with a person’s name, address, inmate number and other identifying information. The more information that is accessible about the individual, the more accurate the files will be. Sometimes, photos are available as part of these records.

Inmate records may also include information about the individuals convicted crimes, the date of sentencing, the expected release date, any potential court appearances or other requirements such as probation information. In addition, the type of offense is often included.  Information included in these records is often dependent on the state’s laws. Most records are maintained on a regular basis and contain accurate information. This is necessary for law enforcement and court records as well as for the public’s knowledge.

Gathering information from inmate records is possible in most states through a statewide database search. This information may or may not be accessible to the public in its complete detail. For example, any sensitive information may not be included in general public records. This may include the individual’s residence outside of the correction facility or identifying information.

Inmate records are also known as jail records. This information does differ between the states. Most counties will maintain jail or inmate records as well as the state. It may be possible to conduct a search of these records for within the specific jail or incarceration facility as well.

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