Inmate Population Information Search
The New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (“DOCCS”) has a very useful, free online-investigation tool called the Inmate Population Information Search.
The Inmate Population Information Search contains detailed information about people who are currently incarcerated – or were incarcerated in the past – in the New York State correctional system.
People incarcerated in New York’s statewide correctional system are sentenced to “determinate” terms of imprisonment of 1 year or more, or “indeterminate” terms of imprisonment of 1-to-3 years or more.
The New York City Department of Correction has a tool similar to the New York State’s Inmate Population Information Search. It’s called the Inmate Lookup Service. It can be used as a free investigation tool for investigating whether a person is currently detained on Rikers Island, the “Tombs”, or any other facility run by the New York City Department of Correction.
The Database and It’s Limitations
To search for a person using the Inmate Population Information Search, just enter the person’s last name and first name; or the person’s “Department Identification Number” (“DIN”), if you have it; or the person’s “New York State Identification” (“NYSID”), if you have it.
Keep a few things in mind regarding the Inmate Population Information Search (the “IPIS”):
- The IPIS only records data regarding people who have served time in the NY State prison system.
- The IPIS doesn’t contain data regarding people who have served time in any of the county jails throughout New York State.
- The IPIS doesn’t contain data regarding people who have been incarcerated in any jail or prison outside of New York State.
- The IPIS doesn’t contain data regarding people who have been incarcerated in the federal system.
- If a person is imprisoned under an alias (or under a misspelled name), you will receive negative results if you only search for the person by the person’s true name (or by the person’s correctly spelled name).
- Since many people are incarcerated under an alias or a misspelled name, searching by an inmate’s DIN or NYSID number produces more reliable results than searching by name. However, DIN and NYSID numbers are difficult to obtain if you don’t already happen to know them, so most civilian searches are conducted by name.
Among other things, you can determine the following information about a person listed in IPIS:
- DIN (“Department Identification Number”);
- Date of birth;
- Custody status (whether the person is currently in DOCCS custody or released);
- Correctional facility where the person is currently housed, or from which the person was released;
- Date when the person entered the state prison system (which is different from the “date of arrest” and the “sentencing date”);
- The county where the person was convicted (which is usually different than the county where the person is incarcerated);
- Date when the person was most recently released from prison, if applicable;
- The crimes of conviction;
- The minimum prison term imposed;
- The maximum prison term imposed;
- The earliest release date;
- The maximum expiration date of the sentence.
Because it provides so much information, the Inmate Population Information Search is an excellent investigation tool for finding information about the people in its database.
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