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New York Inmate Search: How to Find Inmates in the state of New York

New York Inmate Search: How to Find Inmates in the state of  New York
August 11, 2022

For a state which plays home to the statue of liberty, New York does have an amazing number of people behind bars.

Currently, there are over 90,000 people locked up in correctional facilities across the state.

If you need to confirm the status of any inmate in the New York prison system, there are a couple of ways to do it, both online and offline.

For online inmate checks, the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision provides an offender locator tool, as do a few other third-party services.

Alternatively, you may visit the holding institution in person. 

We've explored these and a few other methods in this guide. 

New York Inmate Records Explained

Inmate records in New York are documents created for and assigned to offenders who pass through the state's penal system.

These official records contain personal information about the offender (including their name, identifying features, and state-assigned registration number) and details of their arrest, offense, and incarceration.

In New York, inmate records are kept up-to-date throughout the duration of the offender's incarceration, but records of non-violent offenders are wiped off the DOCCS website five years after they complete their term. 

Speaking of which, the New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision is the official repository of inmate records in both state prisons and county jails in the state.

DOCCS provides a prison lookup tool on its website with which interested members of the public can access the department's inmate database.

Third-party platforms such as InfoTracer and VINELink can also be used to access inmate records in the state, while third-party background check websites are authorized (by the New York Freedom of Information Act) to both access and publish public records on their platforms, as long as they don't belong to a juvenile. 

Finding New York Inmate Records Online

The official way to find out if an inmate is currently incarcerated in any of the state's penitentiaries is to check the DOCCS database of registered inmates in the state.

On its website, the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision offers an inmate lookup tool with which interested members of the public can perform a free inmate search. 

Using this method is fairly straightforward. Just visit the DOCCS website, then locate the inmate locator tool on the website homepage.

In the provided text boxes, input the inmate's name and year of birth along with their state-issued New York State ID number (NYSID) or Department Identification Number (DIN), then click search.

The system will pull up specific results if you provided the inmate's unique ID numbers and match results if you searched by name.

Clicking on the DIN will pull up another page with additional information about the inmate. 

Records of non-violent offenders will be removed from the DOCCS database five years after their release, so searching the database for these types of people will not produce your desired results. 

Finding Inmates in New York County Jails Online

Since the DOCCS is the sole repository for inmate records in the state of New York, you must also direct your county jail inmate search requests to this department.

Just as applies in prison inmate searches, interested parties can use the inmate locator tool to find inmates in county jails in the state. 

The search process remains the same. To initiate a search, input the inmate's name or identification number into the provided boxes and click search.

Providing the inmate's unique ID number will make your search more streamlined and precise, while a name-based search might pull up multiple matches. 

New York VINELink

The VINELink (Victim Information and Notification Everyday) service is an online notifications service that helps survivors of crime in the state stay in the loop regarding the incarceration status of their offenders.

Although the service is specifically intended for crime victims, other members of the public can also take advantage of the service to find information about inmates in any of the state's correctional facilities. 

The New York VINELink service sends out notifications to registered users whenever there's an update on the status of an inmate of interest. Notifications are accurate and available in multiple languages. 

Using Third-party Websites 

This option can be your first port of call or your last resort, depending on your outlook.

These websites have a richly deserved reputation for convenience, and you can complete your inmate search in a matter of minutes. 

To use these platforms, you simply need to provide a few details of your subject. Once you input those details into the search box, the system will attempt to find matches in its database.

Once the search is complete, the platform will bring up results that you can then assess to find the information you're looking for.

These websites may charge for this service, but you can also find others that will provide this service free of charge. 

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