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Inmate Lookup Service
The New York City Department of Correction (“NYC DOC”) has a useful, free, online investigation tool called the Inmate Lookup Service.
Use it to investigate whether a loved one, a family member, or a sworn enemy is currently detained or serving a sentence on Rikers Island, the “Tombs”, or any other facility run by NYC DOC.
The Inmate Lookup Service won’t give you information about people who were detained in the past, or people who served sentences in the past – although information often lingers for a month or so after an inmate is released.
How to Use It
Then type the first name and the last name of the person you’re investigating. You don’t need to enter a date of birth or any other identifying information.
If multiple current inmates have the name you’re searching for, you’ll get multiple results. Sift through the results to try to find the specific inmate you’re trying to find, based on details contained in the results, such as year of birth, race, height, weight, hair color, arrest date, etc.
If NYC DOC identifies the subject of your search under a different name than the one you enter, you might not receive any results. This happens frequently and for a variety of reasons.
For example, if the person you’re looking for gave police an “alias” (a name different than the person’s actual name), then you won’t find the person in the Inmate Lookup Service unless you know the alias and enter it into the search form.
If police misspelled the person’s name when they wrote up the arrest, then you won’t find the person through the Inmate Lookup Service unless you know the misspelling that the police used.
Who Is and Isn’t in the Database?
Generally speaking, a person accused of a crime will appear in the Inmate Lookup Service if that person meets either of the following conditions:
- Arraigned on criminal charges in New York City, with bail currently set but not posted; or
- Convicted of a crime in New York City and currently serving one or more “definite” jail sentences of one year or less.
Generally speaking, a person in custody will NOT appear in the Inmate Lookup Service if that person meets any one of the following conditions:
- In police custody, but not yet seen by a judge;
- In NYC DOC custody for less than 12 hours;
- Facing criminal charges anywhere in the world other than the five boroughs of New York City (unless detained in New York City on an “extradition warrant”);
- Stopped by police and released with a summons;
- Arrested by police and released with a desk appearance ticket;
- Arraigned in court after arrest and then released on recognizance (“ROR”);
- Arraigned in court after arrest and then released on bail posted by a “surety”;
- Currently sentenced to one or more “determinate” or “indeterminate” terms of imprisonment of one year or more.
Again, the Inmate Locator only identifies people who are currently in custody, not people who were in custody but have since been released.
What’s in the Database?
You can determine the following information, among other items of information, about a person listed in the Inmate Lookup Service:
- Year of birth
- New York State ID number
- NYC DOC housing facility
- NYC DOC identification (“book and case”) number
- Arrest number
- Bail status
- Court where proceedings are pending
- Next court date
- Court docket number
- Top criminal charge
The Inmate Lookup Service is an excellent investigation tool. Information in it can provide leads to more information – in other databases and information repositories – about the person you’re investigating.
Or email Bruce a brief description of your situation: