Texas Court Records
What Are Inmate Records?
Inmate records are official documents containing the relevant information of individuals that are currently incarcerated. The information provided on the inmate record generally include
- The inmate’s full name and aliases
- The details of the offense the inmate was arrested for or convicted of
- The inmate’s bio-data, such as the date of birth, gender, fingerprints, and mugshot
- The date the inmate was incarcerated as well as the prospective release date
- The facility where the inmate is being housed, the location and the security level
- The inmate’s past convictions and sentences served
- Bond/bail conditions, where applicable
By Chapter 552 of the Texas Government Code, inmate records in Texas are public records maintained by law enforcement agencies. Hence, citizens retain the right to access government records. This provision is also reinforced by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
How To Find An Inmate In Texas?
Family and friends can find an inmate in Texas online using the offender’s information search portal. In conducting the search, the requester must provide any of the following
- The last name and at least the first initial of the first name,
- The Texas Department of Criminal Justice number or
- The State Identification number
The information provided on the database is only for inmates in facilities overseen by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. To find inmates in county or city jails, the requester may visit or send a letter seeking information to the relevant local jail. Such inquiry may be addressed to the Sheriff’s Office at the local jail.
The requester may also find an inmate on the websites of the individual county jail or city jail. For instance, El Paso County has a website that allows users to search for an inmate at the local jail by name or booking number. A search by name requires the first and last name of the inmate.
Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:
- The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
- The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.
Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.
HOW TO FIND A FEDERAL INMATE IN TEXAS?
Citizens can search for an inmate incarcerated at a federal facility within the state on the Federal Bureau of Prisons website. The search can be done using the inmate’s name or the inmate’s number. A search by name requires the inmate’s biodata. This search includes at least the first and last name of the inmate. The query may be filtered by including the race, sex, and age of the inmate.
On the other hand, if the requester is searching by number, any of the following numbers may suffice for a quick result:
- The Bureau of Prisons register number,
- D.C. Department of Corrections number,
- The Federal Bureau of Investigation number, or
- The Immigration and Naturalization Services number
The Bureau of Prisons database contains information on inmates that have been incarcerated since 1982. For inmate records before 1982, the requester can find such at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). The NARA’s database contains information on inmates incarcerated from 1870 to 1981.
HOW DO I FIND INMATE RECORDS IN TEXAS?
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) is responsible for maintaining inmate records in the State of Texas. To gain access to any record, for old and current inmates, The Department mandates that the request be made in writing. This request may be submitted in person, by mail, email, or fax. If delivering the request in person, the requester must go to the relevant unit where the record is maintained.
Where the relevant unit is unknown, the requester can make inquiries from the TDCJ Executive Services on (936) 437–6144. Inquiries may also be faxed to (936) 437–2125, sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by a mail addressed to:
PO Box 99
Huntsville, TX 77342–0099
The written request must include the name, phone number, and mailing address of the person making the request. This information ensures an appropriate response from the agency. The request must also contain specific information on the record being sought.
Although inmate records are public records, certain information on the inmates is not available to the public. As such, any request for non-public information must go through the Attorney General. The Attorney General has the authority to decide if the information should be given out. This decision must be made within 12 weeks of receiving the request.
The cost of copying an available inmate record is $0.10 per page in addition to the cost of postage. Where the number of copies requested is more than 50 pages, the fee would include personnel and overhead costs required to compile the documents. Where the total fee exceeds $40, the Department will send the requester an itemized written estimate of the fees and indicate if there is a less costly alternative.
On receiving this estimate, the requester is required to respond within ten days. The response must be in writing and should state if the requester accepts the costs or if the less costly alternative is preferred. The Department considers the request withdrawn when a response is not received within the period.
Requesters can search for the inmate records online, and print web copies if allowed. However, these prints are not regarded as official copies. To search for any record, the requester must provide information on the inmate. Generally, the information required is the last name and at least the first initial of the first name. Alternatively, the requester can provide the Texas Department of Criminal Justice number or the State Identification number.
The online search is only applicable to offenders that are incarcerated in a TDCJ facility at the time of the search. Records of inmates that have been released cannot be accessed online. For records of inmates no longer in custody, write to the appropriate jail to request a copy of an inmate record.
HOW TO PUT MONEY ON JAIL INMATES BOOK IN TEXAS?
Every inmate in any of the state facilities overseen by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice has a trust fund account provided by the Department. Family members and friends can deposit money into this account. To do so, the depositor can use any of the options offered by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. These include
- Cashier’s check or money order
- Monthly checking account debit (Automated Clearing House)
- America’s Cash Express (ACE)
- eCommDirect Store
- TouchPay Payment Systems
- Western Union Convenience Pay
- Western Union Quick Collect
A cashier check or money order should be made payable to the Inmate Trust Fund and include the inmate’s name and number. The check or order can be sent via a self-addressed, stamped envelope to
Inmate Trust Fund
PO Box 60
Huntsville, TX 77342–0060
To pay using a monthly checking account debit, the depositor must first complete an ACH authorization form. The completed form and a voided check for the account to be debited should be submitted to
Inmate Trust Fund
PO Box 629
This medium of payment enables the TDCJ to automatically debit a fixed amount every month from a personal checking account. The debit is taken about the fifth day of each month and credited to the specified offender’s account by the tenth day of the month. The automatic transactions can be changed or stopped by completing an ACH stop/change form.
TouchPay payment can be made online via a debit or credit card or by calling 1–877–868–5358. Alternatively, the sender may use MoneyPak to complete a TouchPay transaction. To pay by ACE, the depositors are to call 1–866–734–2306 or at the nearest ACE location.
Deposits via eCommDirect are made by a MasterCard, Visa, or Discover card. The inmate’s name and number are to be provided on the eCommDirect site. Also, a deposit can be made to an inmate’s account via Jpay using a Visa or MasterCard credit/debit card by calling 1–800–574–5729. Alternatively, a Jpay transaction can be completed via cash deposit at any MoneyGram location nationwide. The deposit is made using an Express Payment form as well as RECEIVE CODE 3570.
For inmates in Texas county and city jails, the means of sending money are different. To deposit money into the commissary account of an inmate, the depositor can contact the county/city jail. Generally, though, the depositor can fund an inmate’s account:
- At a kiosk in the jail lobby
- At designated retail locations around the city/county
- Online via accredited payment merchants using a credit/debit card
- By phone using a credit/debit card.