Home Articles How Do I Look Up an Inmate’s Release Date?

How Do I Look Up an Inmate’s Release Date?

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Finding out an inmate’s release date from jail or prison is important for many reasons. For some, that person may be a friend or family member whose arrival they’ve been anticipating.

For others, an inmate might be someone they’re afraid of, and they need to protect themselves. In these cases, the victim has certain rights that make it more likely they’ll be informed. But either way, looking up their information isn’t difficult if you know how to do it.

To do it quickly, you’ll be expected to know some identifying factors. For any search, you’ll need a name and where they’re being held. It also helps if you have their prisoner number, but you can find ways around that if you don’t.

County jail

If the inmate you’re looking for is in county jail, you can usually just go to that county’s website and pull up their jail roster. You can usually find this by entering a phrase such as “Orange County inmate search.” This roster won’t always give you a release date, but it will help you verify that they’re there and can give you more identifiers.

With this information, the only way to find out anything for sure is to call the county jail. Most of the information is public, but keep in mind that there are certain things they can’t disclose. For example, if the inmate’s case is pending, they might not have a specific release date yet. 

If you don’t know exactly where the inmate is, you can start out with a simple online search. Type in the inmate’s name and state where you think they are. You can add the word “arrest” or “crime” to the search for more specific results. Because many newspapers publish arrest records, you’re likely to pull up at least some news on the person. Once you do find them, follow the previous instructions for more information. 

State correctional facilities

Sometimes called state jails or state prisons, these units are often minimum-security facilities where it’s fairly easy to get information. Most inmates in state prison do have a release date in place, but it can be subject to change, depending on their circumstances. You have a better chance of learning an exact release date if they’ve already had a parole hearing and are just awaiting release.

Either way, you can search the state’s database of inmates and get limited information. To find out an exact release date, you might have to use the identifiers you get from the search to call and make a request. Keep in mind that while most of their information is public, you might still need a good reason for asking. 

Federal prison

Locating an inmate who’s in the federal system can be somewhat trickier than the others. They can be moved around at times for security or other purposes. Of course, if you know the inmate, and they’re allowed to keep in touch with you, you’ll have an easier time finding out their release date, even if they’re not sure of it themselves.

The best place to start is the Federal Bureau of Prisons website, where you can find inmates and get their information. Just like with state jail prisoners, however, it’s important to remember their release dates can change. To find an inmate through this system, you’ll need a first and last name, age, race, and sex. This database will then pull up any prisoners who match that description, giving you their location, register number, and release date. 

Unfortunately, this database doesn’t usually include mugshots, so it’s possible to get the wrong person’s records. This is highly unlikely if you have the exact age and name, but it can certainly happen with common names.

So, for finding an inmate in any facility, it’s usually best to use a paid people-finder service. For a small fee, this will give you more specific information to help you identify anyone, including possible relatives and known addresses. 



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