How To Find An Inmate's Release Date

Written by J. Hirby and Fact Checked by The Law Dictionary Staff  

Knowing an inmate's release date can be useful for many reasons. Sometimes friends and family want to know the release date so they can plan a homecoming. Others may be seeking information because they were the victim of a crime committed by the inmate. Regardless, finding an inmate's release date is usually easy, particularly with access to the Internet.

Gather Information

To find an inmate's release date, you'll need pertinent information. Knowing where the inmate is incarcerated is a good place to start. The name of the prison or jail and whether it is a federal, state, county or other facility can form the basis of an Internet search. Basic facts about the inmate, such as their name and prisoner ID number are also useful. If the inmate's name is a common one, you may want to be prepared with other identifying information like their age, gender and race to help narrow down the search results.

Visit the Department of Corrections Website

You may be able to get information on inmates who are incarcerated in a state facility through that state's department of corrections website. Some states have an online search function. Others will provide a phone number you can call to find out release dates and other information. Some department of corrections websites have very detailed search functions that allow you to input a thorough physical description of the inmate and the offense for which they were incarcerated. In states with particularly large prison populations, a detailed search query can quickly narrow down the results.

County and City Jails

Smaller facilities may also have website search functions. However, a phone call may be a more likely option. Because these jails hold fewer inmates than prisons, any search you perform probably won't come up with as many hits, which will make it easier to sift through the results.

Federal Prison Inmates

The Federal Bureau of Prisons hosts a website at Their Find an Inmate page makes it easy to locate an inmate in any federal prison. The search function is fairly limited. Users can either search by a number, such as the inmate's bureau of prisons' number or their FBI number, or can try a search by name. The name search provides opportunities to enter information about the prisoner's race, age and sex to make the search more efficient. Any inmates incarcerated after 1982 are entered into this system.

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