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What Are Illinois Inmate Records?

Illinois inmate records are official records that provide information about all individuals that served or are currently serving out varying prison or jail sentences in the state. These records confirm that the individuals named on thereon were arrested for or found guilty of a crime, which resulted in jail terms. An Illinois inmate’s record usually contains the following information:

  • Full name and any known aliases
  • Biodata, including date of birth, mug shots, height, weight, and gender
  • Physical description, including race, eye color, hair color, marks, scars, tattoos, and whether or not the individual uses prescription glasses
  • Offense(s) committed
  • Length of the sentence(s)
  • All charges and the respective counties where the sentencing took place
  • Current status, such as whether the inmate is out on parole, has completed the sentence or still in custody
  • Date of admission
  • Projected parole date
  • Projected discharge date

According to the Illinois Uniform Conviction Information Act, all Illinois inmate records are public information that should be made available to all requestors for inspection or copying. However, the general public may not be able to inmate records that sealed by court order.

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 An Inmate In Illinois?

In Illinois, comprehensive inmate records are maintained online by the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC). Members of the general public may access the state’s inmate records via the IDOC’s Inmate Search page. Users may filter searches on the page using any of the following details:

  • Inmate’s last name
  • Inmate’s IDOC number
  • Inmate’s date of birth

On the result page, highlight the name of the subject and select the ‘Query A Highlighted Inmate’ button. This reveals the mugshot of the inmates, biographical details, arrest information, and the facility where the inmate is held. Inmates available on this database are those serving time at the various state prison, to locate an inmate serving time in the county or city jail contact the Sheriff’s Office or Police Department in the jurisdiction.

However, some Sheriff’s Offices and Police Departments offer inmate records databases on their websites. Illinois has 102 counties, with 92 county jails, and many of them allow public access to inmate records. For example, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, Chicago Police Department, and DuPage County Sheriff’s Office allow public access to the inmate records via their homepages.

Where the inmate in question is a juvenile detainee, the requestor may need to contact the state’s youth centers of the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice or any of the county-level 16 juvenile detention facilities.  

How To Find A Federal Inmate In Illinois?

Inmates held in federal facilities in Illinois can be located via the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) online database available on its website. The database holds records of all inmates incarcerated in several federal facilities since 1982.

Through the BOP’s Find an Inmate page, anyone may search for past and current inmates, using either the number or name function. The number function requires the user to query the database using one of the following criteria:

  • BOP register number
  • District of Columbia Department of Corrections (DCDC) number
  • Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) number
  • Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) number

Alternatively, requestors may use the name function to search using the inmate’s first, middle, or last name. Other search options under the name function include the inmate’s race, age, or sex. However, requestors should note that the information available from the BOP is subject to periodic change. According to the First Step Act, several inmates might see downward reviews of their sentences to a sooner release date. Requestors are advised to use the search service periodically.

Records of federal prison inmates for people who served out prison terms between 1870 and 1981 are available from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). The archive maintains inmate indexes for the following:

  • Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, California (1934 - 1963)
  • Fort Smith, Arkansas (1866—1900)
  • United States Penitentiary, Leavenworth, Kansas (1895—1931)
  • McNeil Island
  • Atlanta Federal Penitentiary (1902—1921).

To access records for any of the above prisons, contact NARA online using its contact us page. Alternatively, send a written request to NARA, with the following information:

  • Inmate’s full name, including initials or known aliases
  • Inmate’s date of birth or estimated age at the time of incarceration
  • Inmate’s race or ethnicity
  • Date of the prison sentence or approximate date during which the inmate was still serving time

Send the request by mail to:

The National Archives and Records Administration
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD 20740–6001
Phone: (866) 272–6272

How Do I Obtain Inmate Records In Illinois?

The Illinois Department of Corrections maintains records of all inmates, whether they are currently incarcerated or have been released. To find inmate records, contact the IDOC in person or by mail, using the following details:

Illinois Department of Corrections—Springfield
1301 Concordia Court
P. O. Box 19277
Springfield, IL 62794–9277
Phone: (217) 558–2200 x 2008

Illinois Department of Corrections—Chicago
James R. Thompson Center
100 West Randolph
Chicago, IL 60601

Submit a written request to any of the locations listed above with relevant details. The letter should include as much information as is known about the desired subject of the record. This information includes the inmate’s full name, aliases, the nature of the crime(s), the county of charge, any known booking or release dates, a registration number, and any other available details.

A requestor may also contact the IDOC by email. To send an email, complete the IDOC’s contact form with a first and last name, phone number, address, city, zip code, and an active email address. Optional information required from a requestor includes a phone number and the inmate’s IDOC number. If the facility is known, select the right location from the facility drop-down menu. From the general subject menu, select record search. Requestors are also expected to provide detailed information about the desired records in the constituent question/request box. Varying fees may apply.

To obtain records of inmates held at the county or city jails, the requestor must contact in writing or in-person the Sheriff’s Office or Police Department charged with the administration of such jail. Similar information, as discussed above, is necessary to complete a request with the law enforcement agency.

How To Put Money On Jail Inmates Book In Illinois?

The Illinois Department of Corrections allows family and friends to send funds to an inmate’s account. This may be done through electronic payments and money orders. When paying via electronic means, the sender may wire through any of these four platforms:

  • Global Tel Link (GTL)
  • JPAY
  • Money Gram
  • Western Union

All electronic payments require the payer to provide the inmate’s last name and IDOC number. All GTL, Western Union, and JPAY payments take between 24 and 48 hours to reflect in the inmate’s account. Money Gram payments may take up to 96 business hours. Where payment is sent while an inmate is being transferred from one facility to another, the funds may not reflect even after 96 business hours.

Western Union payments may be processed using the Quick Collect Form, with “ILDOC IL” as the payment code. All MoneyGram payments have a maximum limit of $3,000 and can be processed via the Blue MoneyGram Express Payment Form, with 7364 as the receiving code. Other platforms have a maximum limit of $5,000. Access to electronic payments cost varying fees, depending on the method used.

When using money orders, family and friends may send funds through JPAY. All money orders must carry the inmate’s name, IDOC number, sender’s name, and sender’s address. Using a money order requires a lockbox deposit slip, which is available from all Illinois incarceration facilities, and also from JPAY’s money order webpage.

All money orders must be made out to JPAY, for a maximum of $999. Money orders should not be sent directly to the facility. Send the money order and the deposit slip using the following details:

P. O. Box 260250
Hollywood, FL 33026

Note, JPAY also allows relatives to make deposits into an inmate’s account by phone. To make such deposits, call JPAY at 1–800–574–5729.

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