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Where to Find Illinois Inmate Records

Illinois inmate records provide details of offenders serving out their jail sentence at any city/county jails or state prisons. Information found on this record includes name, date of birth, date of sentence, identification marks, etc. According to section 730 ILCS 5/3-5-2 of the Unified Code of Corrections, the Illinois Department of Correction is tasked with creating and maintaining inmate records within its jurisdiction.

Are Incarceration Records Public Information in Illinois?

Inmate records in Illinois are available to the public as required by the state's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). This act was passed in 1984 to create transparency and accountability in all public agencies located in the state. However, only inmates' personal information, identification, and sentence are accessible to the public. Sensitive information, including inmates' medical reports, are confidential and can only be released to members of the public with proper court orders.

What Information is Contained in an Illinois Inmate Record?

Inmate records accessible to the public contain two main categories of information: general and sentence Information.

General information includes

  • Personal details, i.e., name, date of birth, sex, race, etc.
  • Physical attributes, i.e., weight, height, hair, and eyes color
  • Identification marks, i.e., scars and tattoos
  • Admission information Audi i.e., name and location of the correctional center, date of admission, etc.

Sentence information includes

  • Criminal offense
  • Jail sentence etc.

Illinois inmate records are created after conviction and sentencing. The chief administrative officer of a state prison is tasked with creating records of persons committed to the state facility. At the county level, the various local jail administrators or county sheriffs are required to generate and officially document records of inmates detained within their respective jurisdiction.

Where do I Look Up an Inmate in Illinois?

The Illinois Department of Corrections serves as the central repository for inmate records in the state. The department maintains an online registry, which includes all inmates housed in one state's correctional centers. County and city jail administrators also provide public access to inmates committed to their facility.

How Do I Conduct an Inmate Search in Illinois?

Inmate search can be conducted using the following methods:


To find inmates at the state's online registry, interested persons can use the IDOC number, last name, or date of birth of the inmate. Several counties in Illinois provide online search similar to the central repository. For instance, Cook County inmates lookup is accessible using the full names or booking number of the inmate. Other counties like Coles County provide a compact list of confined inmates.

Mail or Call-in

At the state level, inmate records are available by calling the department on (217) 558-2200. To find an inmate via mail, requesters may complete and send an online application to:

Illinois Department of Corrections
1301 Concordia Court
PO. Box 19277
Springfield, IL 62794-9277

How Can I Find an Inmate for Free in Illinois?

At the national level, the Federal Bureau of Prisons keeps only records of inmates indicted for federal offenses. The bureau also has files on individuals awaiting trial for federal crimes. State and local inmates can be located for free at the online registry. Note that mail or phone requests may attract some fees.

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 Illinois

Records of inmates who have completed their jail sentences in any state correctional facilities are not available online. To obtain such archived documents, interested persons should fill the online request form. Before submitting, select 'Records Search' under the 'General Subject' part of the form. Alternatively, the records are obtainable by visiting the office in person or sending a mail to the address below:

Illinois Department of Corrections:

Springfield Address
1301 Concordia Court
PO. Box 19277
Springfield, IL 62794-9277
Phone: (217) 558-2200

Chicago Address
James R. Thompson Center
100 West Randolph
Chicago, IL 60601

Note that the type of information provided will determine the accuracy of the search results. Better search results are achieved if the requesters provide relevant details such as:

  • The full name of the former inmate (make sure spellings are accurate)
  • The date of birth
  • The year the inmate was committed to any of the state prisons
  • Name and location of the state prison
  • Location of the county where the inmate was convicted
  • Dates relevant to the inmate's incarceration

How do I Find Inmate Death Records in Illinois?

The ideal method of getting an inmate death record in Illinois is to contact the Department of Corrections via mail or in person. Information such as date of birth, name, and location of state prison will improve the search result. Alternatively, requesters may obtain reports related to an inmate's death records through the medical examiner's office that handles the inmate's body. Interested persons may also contact the county clerk-recorder for a copy of the inmate's death records.

How do I Conduct a Federal Prison Inmate Search?

The Federal Bureau of Prisons offers an online locator for federal inmates lookup. Interested persons may search inmates convicted for a federal offense using the name or registration number.

Name: Individuals should fill in the first, middle, and last name field to minimize duplications in the case of common names. Other essential details required when conducting a name search are:

  • Age: This depends on the inmate's date of birth. It reveals the inmate's current age as opposed to the age when released. If the record is on a dead inmate, this detail will be written under the "Date Released" section.
  • Race and sex: This alludes to the inmate's ethnicity and can help narrow the results when searching.

Registration Number: Regardless of the kind of number the Requester enters, this field will show the inmate's Federal BOP register number. Other registration numbers like DCDC (District of Columbia Department of Corrections), FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation), and INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) numbers can be used for conducting this search.

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

Generally, inmate information is created and published the day they enter a correctional center. However, before getting to the prison, every inmate is required to go through a Reception and Classification (R&C) Center for processing. The minimum processing time is 30 days, but this is not fixed as it depends on the facility. According to Section 503.20 of the Illinois Administrative Code, committed persons should be classified by the R&C center to:

  • Determine the level of security necessary for control
  • Determine the program needs of the inmate
  • Assign committed persons to the appropriate facility and program.
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