I have found that over the past couple of years, the page on this blog that gets the most traffic, comments and questions is the Inmate Locator page. It is a nerve wracking time for family and friends when a person is incarcerated, and a lot of the time there isn’t very clear information about how to find out where they are, what prison they are at, and how you can communicate with them. I am going to write today’s post with some explanations of all of this, hopefully it will help y’all find your people who might be incarcerated in prison.
First of all, one big source of confusion is who has them locked up? Just because you know someone is incarcerated in Texas doesn’t mean they are at a TDC prison. A person who is an inmate in Texas can be in city jail, county jail, Texas state jail, Texas Department of Corrections prison, or Federal Penitentiary. All of these are different. Both Texas State Jail and TDC prisons fall under the Texas Department of Corrections. These are for felony crimes committed at the state level. You can use the Texas Inmate Locator on here to look for them. Go to Texas Inmate Locator and enter their first and last name and any other details you have. You need at least a first initial. Remember, some names are pretty common and will bring up a lot of results, so knowing their date of birth, race and gender is helpful to narrow down who you are looking for.
When someone is arrested, the typical way it goes is first they are held in a city jail or in county jail. Some people serve sentences that can last many months at the county level, and stay their term in county jail. Texas is a huge state and all counties do not have automated systems to look up inmates at the county level but if you suspect a person is held in county jail you can call and ask if someone is there, by name, or you can search for the county website, find the area for the county jail or sheriff’s department, and sometimes find a search feature.
If someone is arrested for a federal crime then they can be held in a federal penitentiary anywhere in the country, depending on their charges. Things like weapons and arms violations, certain frauds cases, kidnapping, and many other crimes fall under this umbrella. It makes a difference if a crime was committed across multiple states. At any rate, federal pens have the rap of being very different than state prisons. There are federal pens in Texas, including 22 in the state of Texas. I have gone ahead and made a new page here that has the Federal Inmate Search tool for those folks that are looking for somebody at the federal penitentiary level. You can access it here: Federal Penitentiary Inmate Locator. If you want to learn anything else about the Federal Bureau of Prisons you can get information at www.bop.gov.
By the way, if you are looking at someones history in the TDC Inmate search tool, you will see their TDC criminal history but not their federal or county records. Just something to keep in mind.
So, hope this information is helpful to y’all, and if you have questions or need help or have a comment, give me a holler. Peace ~ Magnum