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Inmate Search in Wisconsin: How to Find Inmates in Wisconsin

Inmate Search in Wisconsin: How to Find Inmates in Wisconsin
August 8, 2022

In Wisconsin, inmate records are categorized as public records, per the Wisconsin Open Records Law.

So, if you’re a concerned relative, friend, or victim of anyone incarcerated in any correctional facility in Wisconsin, there is no shortage of ways to locate information about them or get access to their records.

Having said that, prisons and jails in Wisconsin may maintain different standards for locating inmates or accessing their records, so you may need to find out what applies to which facility before you go in search of inmates in them.

In this article, we explain different ways to find inmates in Wisconsin and how to go about each method.

What are Records of Inmates In Wisconsin?

Records of current and former convicts detained in Wisconsin's state prisons, county jails, and correctional facilities are officially documented in Wisconsin inmate records.

General information about the inmate, including their full name, date of birth, identification number, and other biodata, may be available in the records.

According to Wisconsin's Open Records Law, these records may also contain information on punishment, such as the type and classification of the offense and the location of the facility housing the inmate.

To locate inmates in Wisconsin through official means, you may use the Inmate and Offender Search tool provided by the state's Department of Corrections.

If this method does not yield your desired result, then it's possible that your subject is not incarcerated in any of the facilities managed by the DOC.

In that case, you may need to check county or city jail databases. Alternatively, you can check VINELink. 

Unofficially, you can channel your Wisconsin inmate search through third-party websites. These platforms are authorized by the state's Open Records Law to display government records. 

How to Locate Inmates in Wisconsin Prisons

Unless your subject is a juvenile, a person of interest to the Department of Justice, or is currently being held in county jail, you can almost certainly find them by using the Wisconsin DOC's Inmate and Offender Search tool.

This search is free, convenient, and easy; the only information about the inmate you need to know beforehand is their name and identification number (optional).

To use this tool, visit the Wisconsin DOC website and locate the inmate search tool. Provide the inmate's name along with the following details for a more streamlined search:

* Race

DOC number

Birth year

Age range




Inmate's status

The website will bring up the records of inmates that most closely match the search details that you provided. 

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 Wisconsin Open Records Law.

Please be aware that there may be a fee for this service.

Background search platforms all over the US maintain vast databases of public records, obtained from a variety of government and open-access sources.

They also have intuitive websites that are easy to access and use. To find records of an inmate in Wisconsin, just visit the website and locate the inmate search tab on its list of options.

Next, provide a few details of your subject, then proceed to make the search. After a few moments, the system will bring up the required records, as long as the records are not confidential or protected by law.

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 WI VINE County Jails 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 WI VINE County Jails Website or place a call at 1-888-WI-4 VINE (1-888-944-8463). 

Guide to Finding Inmates in Wisconsin County Jails

If you cannot find your subject after searching the Wisconsin Department of Corrections database, chances are that they're being held in county jails.

County jails in Wisconsin typically hold inmates convicted of low-level offenses and are usually supervised and maintained by the local sheriff or police department. 

To find an inmate (or access records of inmates) in county jails, you may pay a physical visit to the office of the pertinent law enforcement agency during business hours.

An easier alternative is to perform an online check on the website of the local law enforcement department. These web pages are also referred to as inmate lists or jail rosters. 


Inmate records in Wisconsin are publicly available, according to the state's Open Records Law.

If you're looking for an inmate in any prison or jail in Wisconsin, we've identified a few ways through which you may locate them in this article. 

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