Search California Inmate
Carrying out an inmate search in the state of California
Organizations and websites that allow you to search for prison inmates in the state of California will often allow you to search for either current or past inmates. How successful your search is may depend upon how long ago they were in jail, since recent records may be unavailable to the public to protect the privacy of those involved. As with any search of this kind, it depends on why you need the information, and if you have a valid reason for being able to see the full details of a current or past inmate, then many of these privacy rules no longer apply.
There are many reasons why you might want to search for current or past inmates in prisons in the state of California. Perhaps you are checking to see if a potential employee has ever spent time in jail or you are checking up on a new partner or neighbour who you suspect might not be telling you the truth about their past. If an inmate search within California turns up no information that might not be the end of your search; you can also search other court documents such as arrest records, arrest warrants or criminal records to see if they have ever been charged with or found guilty of a crime. Just because they did not spend time in jail does not mean they have nothing to hide! Similarly, though many people spend time in jail while awaiting trial, a lot of them are found not guilty, so just because someone shows up in a past inmate search in prisons within the state of California, you should not assume they are guilty of anything without carrying out further investigation.
Older records in California are less likely to be protected, so if you are researching your family history, you can use public documents of this type to track down details of your ancestors. Many police forces and courts may list those people who have been recently arrested, either in public buildings or online. This can be useful if someone you know has gone missing – once you have checked the hospitals, the next logical place to look is the police station, even if they have not been in trouble with the law before. Of course, you are unlikely to get any detailed information in records like these, such as what crimes they were arrested for, but simply their basic personal details so that worried relatives can keep their minds at rest.
If you need to search older inmate records, whether from police cells, county jails or federal prisons, you may need to head to the county or state archives, as many documents have not yet been transferred to computers. The staff at these offices are experts in tracking down documents and will be able to help you out with advice and tips. If you live outside of California but want to search older documents in these archives, you can email or mail a request for a search to be carried out on your behalf. This will cost you a small fee and be prepared to wait a while for the results to be returned to you.
One alternative is the national websites that allow you to search any computerized records of inmates that are available to the general public. The past and present prison population of the state of California will be included in many of these, and though they also charge a fee, the results are returned much faster. They have the added advantage of allowing you to search the whole country, so that if you are not sure someone spent time in jail in California, you can check other areas at the same time.
If you don’t want to pay for carrying out an inmate search, you can always check local newspapers, many of which are kept on file in libraries throughout California. Even the smallest paper has its own website these days, which makes searching for mentions of names in court stories much easier. Older records may still be on micro fiche, but with help from the library staff you should be able to find the stories you are looking for.