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Where to Find New York Inmate Records

When a person is incarcerated, information about their conviction, location, and incarceration status are kept in records. These records may also contain personal identifying information, including the inmate's name, date of birth, fingerprints, race, gender, ethnicity, and identification numbers. Records of all information maintained about persons incarcerated in any state correctional facility are inmate records.

In New York State, persons sentenced to no more than one year in prison are typically incarcerated in city or county jails. Persons sentenced to more than one year in prison are usually detained in state prison. Records of persons incarcerated in state prisons are maintained by the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS). Records of persons incarcerated in city or county jail are typically managed by the Sheriff's office or the department of corrections in the city or county where such persons are incarcerated. For example, inmate records in New York City are maintained by the Department of Correction (DOC), while the Sheriff's Office maintains inmate records in Madison County.

Are Incarceration Records Public Information in New York?

Yes, inmate records are public in New York. According to the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL), inmate records are public records accessible to the public on request. FOIL was established to encourage open government and to foster the maintenance of a free society.

There are some exemptions to the FOIL, such as records restricted from public access by law or court order. Records of persons designated as youthful offenders are also not accessible to the public.

What Information is Contained in a New York Inmate Record?

Inmate records contain information collected from the point of conviction until the release of the incarcerated person. Apart from identifying information, inmate records may also include details of criminal history, such as conviction information. Typically, inmate records contain such information as:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Fingerprints
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • Department identification number (DIN)
  • New York state identification number (NYSID)

Where do I Look Up an Inmate in New York?

To look up inmates in city or county jails outside New York City, interested persons may contact the Sheriff's Office or corrections department for the city or county where the inmate is incarcerated. Requestors may also search using the Inmate Locator tool provided by New York State's Commission of Correction.

The New York City Department of Correction serves New York, Bronx, Kings, and Queens counties. To look up inmates incarcerated in any of these counties, requestors may use the Inmate Lookup Service provided by the NYC Department of Correction.

To find persons incarcerated in state correctional facilities, requestors may use the Inmate Lookup tool provided by the DOCCS.

How Do I Conduct an Inmate Search in New York?

To search for persons incarcerated in county or city jails outside New York City, requestors may search using the Inmate Locator tool provided by the Commission of Correction. Search can be conducted using the inmate's name or identification number. The Inmate locator tool offers an option to include the inmate's photograph in the search results.

For persons incarcerated in New York City, Bronx, Kings, and Queens, the Inmate Lookup Service provides an option to search using either the NYSID or Book & Case Number, or the inmate's first and last names. The Inmate lookup service contains information about inmates' identities, location, bail amount, and other booking information. The Inmate Lookup Service maintains information on persons incarcerated from September 2005.

Information about inmates in state correctional facilities can be searched using the DOCCS' Inmate Lookup tool. A search can be conducted using the inmate's name and birth year or the DIN or NYSID.

A name search is less efficient as it may turn up information about several inmates with the same name. Combining the inmate's name with the birth year can help streamline search results. The most effective search method is through the DIN or NYSID. Each inmate is assigned a department number on arrival, and no two numbers are the same. The search tool can also be used to find an inmate's DIN.

The Inmate Lookup tool provides information on the status and location of persons currently incarcerated in New York state or DOCCS facilities. It also includes information about formerly incarcerated people beginning from the early 1970s. However, the tool does not contain information about persons who were previously incarcerated for non-violent crimes, those whose convictions have been set aside by the court, or youthful offenders. Search results may be copied or printed.

To request certified physical records of persons incarcerated in county or city jail, interested persons may submit written requests to the Sheriff's office, Department of Correction, or law enforcement agency that maintains inmate records for the city or county. Requests and inquiries can also be made in person or by phone.

Certified physical records of persons incarcerated in state facilities may be obtained by submitting a written request to the DOCCS. Applications can be submitted through the contact form provided on the DOCCS website or sent by mail to:

New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision
1220 Washington Avenue, Building 2 
Albany, New York 12226-2050
Requestors can also make inquiries or request assistance from the DOCCS by phone using (518) 457-5000 or (518) 457-8126.

How Can I Find an Inmate for Free in New York?

Inmate information is available online for free online through government-provided portals and tools such as the Inmate Locator and the Inmate Lookup tool. Some third-party websites also offer free inmate search tools. Interested persons may also contact the Sheriff's office or local law enforcement authorities to find an inmate.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

How to Find Old Inmate Records in New York

The New York State Archives maintain archived inmate records. The available information includes case files, intake and release registers, and summary cards. These records are indexed by inmate identification numbers. Information such as medical records, criminal history, and probation reports is restricted by law and is therefore not accessible through the New York State Archives.

To obtain records from the New York State Archives, requestors may:

  • Search the New York State Archives digital catalog
  • Send requests by email to
  • Send requests by mail to:
    New York State Archives
    New York State Education Department
    Cultural Education Center
    Albany, NY 12230
  • Search for records in person at:
    State Archives Research Room
    11th Floor, Cultural Education Center
    222 Madison Avenue
    Albany, NY 12230

To request or search records from the New York State Archives, researchers must be able to provide:

  • The inmate's full name
  • The facility where the inmate was incarcerated
  • The date of admission into the facility
  • Inmate identification number

Conviction date can be used in place of admission date.

To search for inmate records in person, requestors are required to fill a Research Room Registration Form. Requestors must also make reservations for the research room one week in advance of their visit and contact an archivist to confirm the record's availability. Archivists can be contacted via email at and by phone at (518) 474-8955. Records are retrieved twice daily at 10:30 am and 2:00 pm.

New York State Archives staff determine access to archived inmate records on a case by case basis.

How do I Conduct a Federal Prison Inmate Search?

Information about persons incarcerated in federal prisons is maintained by the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). To find persons incarcerated in New York federal prisons, requestors may use the Inmate Locator tool provided by the BOP. Search can be done by name or identification numbers, including the:

  • Bureau of Prisons (BOP) registered number
  • Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) number
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) number

The BOP maintains information about persons incarcerated in federal prisons from 1982 to the present. Older records are maintained by the National Archives Records Administration (NARA). To obtain records from NARA, interested persons may:

  • Order the record online
  • Contact NARA with details of their inquiry
  • Send requests by email to
  • Make requests by phone through 1-866-272-6272, 212-401-1620, or 1-866-840-1752
  • Contact the regional NARA office in New York
  • Send requests by mail to:

The National Archives and Records Administration
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD 20740-6001


The National Archives and Records Administration
3301 Metzerott Road
College Park, MD 20740-6001

NARA charges fees to make copies of archived records.

How Long Does it Take For An Inmate's Information to Be Published in New York Inmate Locator?

There is some time allowed for processing before the publication of inmate information. Although processing times for the intake and release of incarcerated persons vary from one facility to another, it may take 48 hours or more for an inmate's information to become available on the New York Inmate locator.

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