Free Jail Records Search Tutorial - How to Find Local and County Jail Inmate Records
Local county jail, arrest, and court records are public record, which is to say they are accessible to anyone who is looking for the information. Depending on your location and the efforts of your local courts to maintain their websites, you may or may not be able to find the most recent local and county jail records online. However, most counties today have a webmaster responsible for the maintenance of their websites, ensuring that sites are updated regularly.
To find jail records online, your most likely route is to visit the county and/ or sheriff website. In most states and counties, the sheriff's office is the office in charge of the local jail. Visiting your county website for a link to the jail or sheriff is your best first option for finding the managing agency for your county jail and, subsequently, finding jail records online. From the county website, you may even find a link that says "jail." Be aware that most counties today have their sex offender cases separate from their local jail records. If you are looking specifically for information on a sex offender, in most states that information will be available via both county and state links.
If you are unable to locate local and county jail records online, contact the county office and ask them how you can find up-to-date information on jail records. Because local and county jail records are public information, this simple phone call to your county agency should give you the information you need on jail records. Remember that not all information may be available as public record. Depending on the case, some details of the case may not be considered public record. However, you will have access to basic information that includes incarceration date, charges, and release date.
If you are looking for past information and are not interested in current jail records, your phone call should also provide you the information you need on the agency in charge of past records. However, this may also be dependent upon how far back you are looking. If you are seeking jail records beyond a certain records maintenance time period, you will have to work with the section that manages archived records. Again, your local county office should have access to and/or be able to give you access to the proper department in charge of archived records.
Note: If you are a victim, you may have additional access and routes. If you are the victim, be sure to inform the county agency, as you may have rights to additional information, such as release date and terms of release.
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