Texas Court Records
Where to Find Texas Inmate Records
Inmate records in the State of Texas refer to records of offenders incarcerated in county jails, state prisons, correctional centers, and other penal facilities in the state. These records are maintained at varying capacities by the Texas State Department of Criminal Justice and the County Sheriff Offices. Understanding the differences between state prisons and county jails in Texas is important when looking for inmates detained within specific facilities.
Are Incarceration Records Public Information in Texas?
Yes, most incarceration records in Texas fall under the umbrella of the Texas Public Information Act. This means that members of the public have the right to inspect and copy these records by contacting the appropriate custody facility. Even then, this act is not a blanket law. Some sensitive information such as inmate medical records may be unavailable to the public.
What Information is Contained in a Texas Inmate Record?
Inmate records contain a variety of information ranging from booking details, charges, bail bonds, court hearing details, conviction, and sentencing summary. Generally, information available on persons incarcerated in both county, city, or state facilities may feature the following:
- Inmate's full name and nickname(s)
- Date of birth, gender, race, and mugshot photograph
- Booking date and estimated release date
- Charges and court conviction summary
- Bail/bond amount (if applicable)
- The security level of the detaining facility
- Absconder information (if applicable)
Where do I Look Up an Inmate in Texas?
To find an inmate record, interested persons will need to query the particular custodian currently housing, or that housed the inmate in question.
To look up an inmate in county or city jail,
- Visit the county sheriff or city police in person
- Alternatively, use the inmate search tools hosted on the county jail websites
- Email and phone services
To find an inmate in Texas state prisons;
- Use the central Offender Information Search portal
- Call the Texas Department of Criminal Justice on phone
- Send email requests
How Do I Conduct an Inmate Search in Texas?
To access inmate records, it is important that interested parties first identify the facility where the particular inmate is currently incarcerated.
If the facility of interest is under the management of the TDCJ, use the Offender Information Search offered on the TDCJ's website. This online search tool allows searches by inmate name, incarceration number, or state identification number. Alternatively, request for inmate records by emailing the inmate's full name and TDCJ number to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include the inmate's full name as the subject of the email.
Inmates housed in Texas county-managed detention centers can be found online using the inmate finding tools featured on the websites of the various sheriff or applicable city police departments. For instance, Harris County Sheriff's website dedicates a webpage to inmate locating tools as well as other jail services. Using this tool, querying parties can find inmates in the Joint Processing Center at 700 North San Jacinto Street. Some county jails provide email services for requesting jail and inmate info. Generally, if the process proves elusive, call or visit the particular jail for additional enquiries.
To request physical copies of inmate records, take a trip to the detention center in the inmate's county of conviction to determine the possibility and requirements. Be aware that some information may be withheld from public view.
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 Can I Find an Inmate for Free in Texas?
The various online databases provided by the TDJS and county law enforcement officials are available to the public at no cost. Generally, the information required to search these databases include:
- First and last name of inmate
- TDCJ/ Jail number
- Inmate's gender and race
- Identification number
Email and phone services provided by the state incarceration centers can also be accessed for free.
How to Find Old Inmate Records in Texas
The online databases feature information on only offenders currently in custody. Records of discharged inmates may be accessed by querying the particular detention center or prison in person. It is recommended to contact the applicable prison or jail first before embarking on a trip.
The Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) maintains convict record ledgers and indexes. This office holds 29 ledgers dated from 1849-1954 and 10 ledgers covering the years 1849-1970. These records provide excellent research sources for those looking to find secondary information on old imprisoned family members. Such information can include inmate's habits, reading/writing abilities, marital relations, financial capacity, education, expiration of sentence, remarks, birthplace, among others.
How do I Find Inmate Death Records in Texas?
Texas law enforcement offices including the department of criminal justice, county jails, city detention centers, and others usually file reports of inmate custodial death with the Attorney General's office. To find records of any inmate that died in custody, visit the Custodial Death Report page provided by the AG. Alternatively, contact or visit the AG's office during normal business hours to request these death records. Below is the office's physical and contact addresses:
Office of the Attorney General
300 W. 15th Street
PO Box 12548
Austin, TX 78711-2548
Phone: (512) 463-2100
How do I Conduct a Federal Prison Inmate Search?
Interested persons can find inmates serving time in federal prisons located in Texas by utilizing the Inmate Locator Tool provided on the website of the Federal Bureau of Prisons. This database can be searched using name or identification number. Narrow the search result by providing the race, sex, or age of the inmate of interest.
The information available on the above database covers from 1982 to the present day. Older inmate records generated between 1870 and 1981 are available at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).
How Long Does it Take For An Inmate's Information to Be Published in Texas Inmate Locator?
At least 24 hours. Upon admission into a state, county, city, or municipal jail in Texas, jail administrators books and records information about the inmate. During the booking session, the suspect/convict's name, charges, mugshot photograph, fingerprints, health status and other relevant information are taken and documented. Afterward, the new inmate's information is uploaded or published for public research.