North Dakota's prison system is one of the most efficient in the whole of the United States.
There are approximately 23000 spread out in correctional facilities in the state, and records of these inmates are managed by their respective record custodians.
In the case of state-run penitentiaries in the state, an inmate or inmate record search would typically lead you to the state's Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, which is the agency in charge of maintaining and disseminating these records.
Records of inmates in county jails, on the other hand, are typically held by the holding facility.
Whether you're a victim, relative, or potential employer, inmates and their records are always available to be found in North Dakota. We explain how in this guide.
About North Dakota Inmate Records
Upon arrest and conviction, offenders in North Dakota typically have files created for them by the arresting agency.
These files contain personal information about the offender as well as information relating to their offense, conviction, and potential release.
These documents are known as inmate records. Inmate records are, therefore, official records containing vital identifying information about inmates in any correctional facility in the state of North Dakota.
North Dakota arrest records are regarded, per the North Dakota Open Records Act, as public records.
As such, custodians of these records are required to release them to interested members of the public, unless the records are confidential, or belong to a juvenile.
The designated custodian of inmate records at the state level is the North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
This agency supervises the administration of state-run prisons in the state, in addition to its role as records custodian.
The DOCR provides an online database complete with an inmate locator tool for easy inmate lookup. Most county jails in North Dakota also provide this same feature, although in-person and telephone requests are also accommodated.
Some third-party websites can also dig up inmate records on request, usually for a fee.
Locating an Inmate in North Dakota Prisons Online
The North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (DOCR) maintains an online database of inmate records in the state.
This database can be accessed, by anyone interested in them, on the DOCR website, through the department's inmate locator tool.
The DOCR invites members of the public to use this tool to access records of inmates in state penitentiaries throughout the state, as long as the records are not confidential.
To use the inmate locator tool, requesters may visit the ND DOCR website, then select the section of the website labeled family and friends.
In the provided text boxes, input the inmate's name, then click search. For your search to be as streamlined as possible, it's recommended that you provide as much detail about the subject as you can.
You can perform a search with just the first two letters of the inmate's last name, but this will yield multiple matching results.
Finding Inmates in North Dakota County Jails
Inmates who have committed less severe offenses, or who are serving short sentences, are typically held in county jails in North Dakota.
Quite a few counties in the state provide online inmate locator tools for fast and easy inmate lookup.
These tools can often be found on the official website of the local law enforcement agency. Some other counties provide regularly updated, downloadable jail rosters on their official websites.
You can also find inmates in county jails in person. You may visit the Sheriff's Office during business hours to make your search request in person, or you may contact the jail administrator by phone or mail.
North Dakota VINELink
Like its name suggests, the VINE (Victim Information and Notification Everyday) service helps crime survivors keep up to date with the incarceration status of their offenders.
However, this service is also extended to members of the public interested in finding out the status of incarcerated inmates.
The VINE platform is available throughout the United States, with links to almost all of the correctional facilities in the US.
With the VINELink service, you can find out a few details about an inmate, including their current location, details of their offense, and current incarceration status.
You may also register for the service and receive regular updates about an inmate of interest. To use the VINELink service, visit the VINELink website, then, from the list of states offered, choose North Dakota.
Next, provide the details of your inmate of interest and click search.
In A Nutshell
The ND DOCR along with respective county jails are official custodians of inmates and their records in North Dakota.
Depending on which institution your inmate of interest is incarcerated in, it is to these places that you must direct your inmate search request.
You may make your search online, by telephone or mail, or in person at any of these facilities.