How to Locate Someone in Police Custody

laptop with phone in background image by Jake Hellbach from

The unthinkable has happened: Your loved one has been arrested or convicted of a crime. To learn more about the situation, you want to speak to him, but first you’ve got to find him while he’s in police custody. Your first impulse might be to find a phone book, look up the police station and talk to an officer about the situation. That’s common sense, but there are other ways to find someone in police custody that involve the use of your computer and the internet.

Local Level

Visit the local county sheriff’s website. Each website is different, but you should find a link called "Inquiries Online," "Arrest Inquiry," "Inmate Information" or "Current Jail Inmates." You will be redirected to another page.

Type the person's first and last name in the labeled search boxes and press "Enter." If more than one person's name matches the information you entered, you will need to narrow the search by adding more information, such as the inmate's age or race. Normally you will only need the person's last name to begin your search.

Click on the person's booking number or name to read the booking information and view a mugshot. The report will have the individual's last known address, tell you if the inmate is still being held by the jail and possibly give you a date the person will appear in court.

State Prison Level

Visit the state’s offender tracking or prison inmate search website. Each website is different, but many require visitors to read and click a button which states they agree to the terms and limitations of the website before redirecting to another page.

Type the inmate's full name in the search boxes. Press "Enter." Or if you already know the inmate's DOC (Department of Corrections) number, you can use it to search several state databases. Most websites will allow you to perform a partial search by entering the inmate's last name and the the first two letters of the inmate's first name.

Click on the link attached to an inmate's DOC number or name to learn about the person: sex, race, prison where the inmate is housed, expected release date and the charges on which the inmate was convicted. Click on the highlighted prison link for the facility's address and directions.