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Inmate Search in South Dakota: How to Find Inmates in the State of South Dakota

Inmate Search in South Dakota: How to Find Inmates in the State of South Dakota
August 7, 2022

South Dakota's incarceration system consists of 6 prisons and 26 jails spread across 66 counties. Records of prisoners in any of the state-run prison facilities are maintained by the state's Department of Corrections, which also offers an online offender locator tool for easy inmate lookup. 


If your inmate of interest is held in South Dakota jails, you may also find them (and their records) online, but only on specific county websites. In this article, we'll walk you through various steps of finding inmates in the state of South Dakota. 


What are Inmate Records in South Dakota?


Inmate records are official documents prepared and maintained by law enforcement departments detailing personal and administrative information pertaining to people incarcerated in any of the state's correctional facilities.


By personal information, we mean such details as the inmate's name, physical description of them, birth date, and photographs.


Administrative information includes the inmate's status, a snippet of offenses they're convicted of, and their expected release date. 


In South Dakota, inmate records are public records, as proclaimed by the South Dakota Sunshine Laws. The biggest beneficiaries of this legislation are third-party websites, which can legally access government records and publish them on their platforms.


a sign that reads police department


Consequently, third-party websites offer a convenient and straightforward way of finding inmate records throughout the United States, as they're not bound by geographic restrictions that would otherwise apply. 


If you'd prefer to go through official routes, inmate records are also available through state-sanctioned means.


Inmate records in South Dakota can be found officially on the state's DOC website as well as on the South Dakota SAVIN platform.


Records of inmates in South Dakota jails can be accessed on the specific county's website, or by contacting the county sheriff in person. 


How Can I Obtain South Dakota Inmate Records Online?


Searching the South Dakota Department of Corrections database remains the surest and most convenient way to locate an inmate held in any of the state-run prisons in South Dakota.


The DOC provides an online inmate locator tool, and finding inmates in South Dakota prisons can be as easy as carrying out an online search of their names.


This feature is free to use, and you can find the records of both current and past inmates using the tool. 


To use the South Dakota DOC inmate locator tool, visit the DOC website, then click on the "Adult Corrections" menu.


Next, select the "offender locator" option, then type your subject's DOC number and full name in the provided boxes.


When you click "search", the platform will bring up your subject's personal and administrative information, as long as these records are not confidential. 


a 3D illustration of people inside a house with a magnifying glass on them


Locating Inmates in South Dakota Jails


The South Dakota Department of Corrections' database only covers inmates in state-run prisons, so you'll have to go through a slightly different route to find inmates held in jails in South Dakota. 


Jails in South Dakota are maintained and run by the respective counties in which they're located. And quite a few of these counties have inmate records on the official website of the sheriff's office.


Contrary to what applies on the DOC website, county websites do not provide an inmate search tool. Instead, there are lists of current inmates in county jails, and you may have to scroll through the list to locate your subject. 


You may also find inmate records in South Dakota county jails by contacting the sheriff's office or the county jail directly. You may visit either of these offices in person during normal business hours and request the records of specific inmates. 


The South Dakota SAVIN Platform


SAVIN represents Statewide Automated Victim Information and Notification. It's a program created to help victims of crime in the state monitor the status of their offenders.


The SAVING program is completely free, although you may have to register for the program to receive real-time alerts whenever the status of your subject changes, or is about to change. Details of people who register for the program are kept completely confidential. 


a prison wall with barbed wires and a camera


What are Third-party Websites?


Many background check websites (also known as people search or third-party websites) have access to inmate records in South Dakota.


These websites are backed by state law to access publicly available databases and display public records on their platforms, provided that these records are not confidential. 


Some of these third-party websites offer access to their database for free, although you may need to pay a small fee to have the records of your search subject sent to your email.


Using these platforms is easy; simply provide a few personal details of your subject (such as their name or address) and hit "search". It'll only take the platform a few moments to find matching records and display them.


Clicking on a record typically opens a new page with further information on it. 

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