Correctional facilities (including state prisons and county jails) in Tennessee and the records of their inmates are open to the public by law.
According to the Tennessee Public Records Act, records of inmates in any of the state's correctional facilities are considered public and are therefore available to members of the public.
If you're interested in locating an inmate in Tennessee, there are official and unofficial ways to accomplish your goal.
In this article, we have detailed the most effective ways to locate inmates in Tennessee.
About Tennessee Inmate Records
Tennessee inmate records contain information about people incarcerated in Tennessee prisons and jails.
Generally, these records include information about the arrest, transfer, and release of the inmate, in addition to their name, gender, race, and date of birth.
These records are accessible to the general public under the Tennessee Public Records Act.
Once an arrest is made, law enforcement agencies create the records, then courts and correctional facilities respectively, supply them. You can find such details as police reports, charges, and attendant files in them.
The United States considers inmate records to be public information, so they are made available by both government agencies and independent websites.
The lack of geographic restrictions for these services might make third-party websites more convenient to use.
Data obtained from third-party websites, however, may differ from data obtained from official channels since they are not backed by the government.
As is the case with most states in the United States, inmate records in Tennessee can be accessed through official (typically government agencies) and unofficial (third-party websites) means.
The Tennessee Department of Corrections (TDOC) is the official central repository of inmates’ information in Tennessee, and this agency provides an inmate lookup tool on its website.
Unofficially, third-party websites have fantastically detailed inmate databases as well, which are accessible to members of the public, usually for a fee.
How to Locate Inmates in Tennessee Prisons
The Tennessee Department of Corrections maintains a detailed database of inmates incarcerated in any correctional facility in the state.
Members of the public can search this database using the TDOC’s Felony Offender Information Locator (FOIL).
The TDOC states that this inmate locator tool is meant for crime victims, legal professionals, family, friends, and anyone interested in a prisoner.
However, as the inmate search tool’s name implies, it only provides information about convicted felons in Tennessee.
Records of people convicted of minor crimes are not immediately available on the website.
To use the Felony Offender Information Locator, visit the TDOC’s website and locate the inmate locator tool.
Enter the inmate’s name or their unique TDOC ID or Tennessee Offender Management Information System (TOMIS) number.
The website will bring up a list of inmates whose details closely resemble the information you provided in your search request.
Clicking on a result will reveal a variety of inmate information, such as their current location, incarceration status, and parole eligibility date.
If your search subject has been convicted of a misdemeanor or other minor crimes as opposed to a felony, you can get access to their records by directly contacting the Department of Corrections at:
Tennessee Department of Correction
Rachel Jackson Building, Sixth Floor
Nashville, TN 37243-0465
Through Third-party Websites
According to the Tennessee Public Records Act, inmate records are public records. Third-party websites include these records in their databases, and for a small fee, you may perform inmate searches on their platforms.
Third-party websites have an extensive collection of public records in their possession, with inmate records, court records, and criminal records featuring in their database.
To find an inmate on these websites, you'll mainly be required to provide the subject's name and last known address (city/state/county).
And if the subject has a criminal conviction in the state other than a juvenile or a special case, it should be found on the website.
How to Find Inmates in Tennessee Jails
Typically, inmates serving short sentences or those awaiting trials are remanded in county jails in Tennessee.
Inmate records in these jails are maintained and kept by local law enforcement departments, which typically make the records available on request.
Jail inmate records are usually displayed on inmate lists and jail rosters by local law enforcement. These lists can be accessed on the websites of local law enforcement.
To find Tennessee county jail inmates (or their records), visit the website of the respective county law enforcement and locate their inmate list.
Alternatively, you may contact the jail administrator directly.
In a Nutshell
Finding inmates in Tennessee’s correctional facilities is much easier than the odds might suggest, thanks to the Tennessee Public Records Act and similar legislation.
Officially, the TDOC maintains inmate records in the state, although third-party websites also have access to these records.
Whether you’re conducting your search officially or unofficially, you can find inmates in Tennessee with the simple click of a button.