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Inmate Search in Virginia: How to Find Inmates in the State of Virginia

Inmate Search in Virginia: How to Find Inmates in the State of Virginia
August 8, 2022

There are over 38,000 inmates distributed in 44 correctional facilities in Virginia. This is in addition to a multitude of local county jails in the state.


However, finding an inmate in Virginia can be pretty straightforward, despite these odds. 


Thanks to the Virginia Freedom of Information Act which categorizes inmate records as public records, members of the public can easily find inmates and access Virginia inmate records.


In this article, we've highlighted a few ways to find inmates in Virginia. 


By Mail or Telephone


You may gain access to inmate records in any correctional facility in Virginia by submitting a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to them.


For prisons under the supervision of VADOC, send an offender information request to the Superintendent or Warden of the facility using the contact information typically displayed in the directory.


Email, fax, and telephone requests are acceptable.


You must make your offender records request as specific as possible. You should also request electronic records if available. 




About Virginia Inmate Records


All of the data that has been gathered, saved, and disseminated on a person in the state penitentiary system of Virginia make up their inmate records.


Inmate records include things like police reports, court documents, and warrants. There may also be other materials like mug pictures, prints, and audio and video snippets.


These documents often include administrative information describing the status of the offender, where the convict is located, and their date of release as well as individually identifying information.


The Virginia Freedom of Information Act states that the contents of inmate records are public information and are accessible upon request unless they are restricted by a court order.


In Virginia, the official way to find inmates incarcerated in any of the state's correctional facilities is to check the Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) database.


VADOC provides a free and publicly available prison lookup tool that makes this quest convenient and quick. You may also make an inmate search request by email or telephone. 


Third-party websites constitute unofficial inmate search channels in Virginia. For a small access fee, you can get records of inmates in Virginia correctional facilities at the click of a button. 




How to Perform an Online Virginia Inmate Search


To find inmates online officially, simply visit the Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) website and use the department's inmate locator tool.


All inmates incarcerated in VADOC-managed facilities statewide will appear in the search results. 


To use the offender search tool, visit the VADOC website and locate the offender search tool. For a name-based search, input the inmate's full last name and at least the first letter of their first name.


You may also base your search on the inmate's unique, seven-digit ID number. In the provided search results, you may find a lot of information about the inmate such as their name, age, alias, race, ID, gender, and location.


Also included in the search results is a link with which you can send funds to the inmate. You'll need to directly contact the inmate's holding facility if you need additional information. 




Through Third Party Websites


You can conduct your inmate search on any third-party website because they are all permitted to access public records under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act. Please be aware that there may be a fee for this service.


Once you've decided on the platform to use, visit their website and locate the inmate search menu. On the inmate search page, type in the details of your subject in the areas provided for that purpose, then click "search".


It may take the system a few moments to gather the desired records, but, as long as those records do not belong to a juvenile (or are marked unavailable by the government for whatever reason), you can reasonably expect third-party websites to find and display them. 




Through VINELink


If you were directly affected by the inmate's offense, you can find them or receive regular custody updates about them through the VA VINE service.


This service is provided by the Office of Victim Services and Programs (OVSP) in collaboration with local law enforcement agencies.


People who enroll for this service are qualified to receive automatic email or phone updates once an inmate's custody status changes.


Members of the platform who do not wish to register for notifications can check an offender's status online or by telephone. 


To register for this service, or to check the status of inmates using this service, visit the VA VINE Website. 


In a Nutshell


Thanks to legislation such as the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, finding inmates in any correctional facility in Virginia can often be convenient and straightforward.


Apart from performing an online inmate search on the VADOC database, there are a few other official and unofficial ways of finding inmates in Virginia. We've explained them in this article. 

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