Are Jail Records Public Information?

As reported in the Washington Post, there are an estimated 2.4 million incarcerated Americans (2013). Inmates receive a variety of sentences for many different crimes. The circumstances of one’s imprisonment may differ per case, but one thing that remains the same is the potential for an inmate to experience feelings of loneliness and depression. 

Separation from family, friends, coworkers, and others, and being unable to participate in recreational activities and hobbies, and attend social functions, can encourage negative thoughts and behaviors and low moods in inmates.

An arrest, confinement in a facility, receiving a sentence, and serving that sentence can be stressful and shameful experiences. To add to that stress, many former felons have a hard time readjusting to life outside a cell and resuming socialization with others. One of the hardest things for ex-cons to do is get a job following a jail or prison sentence

While some former inmates get new jobs and return to work, many others feel the hiring process discriminates against them because they have a record. Many people who want to get jobs or rekindle their romantic life and find partners following time behind bars wonder if others can discover their criminal past. For those questioning if jail records are public information, the answer is yes.

Criminal records, referred to as rap sheets tend to include information at the local, state, and federal levels. Jail, arrest, and criminal records are available to the public and are easy to access because of the Internet. The Internet has optimized the way people receive news and information. People can conduct online investigations into the background and criminal history of someone they met on social media or a web forum, or someone they interact with in-person. Using the web to seek public data such as criminal records, past arrests, arrest warrants, court case rulings, mugshots, and more, can help people make personal and business decisions.

In the United States, there are 3,163 local jails, 1,772 juvenile correctional facilities, 1,719 state prisons, 109 federal prisons, and several military prisons and civil commitment centers. Many confinement facilities exist across the country, but a former inmate’s jail records are available no matter where they served time. The information included in criminal records and made available to the public may differ across states. 

Some states implement various specific stipulations on what data Internet users can access and the process they must go through to receive such information. In some locations, people can get extra data in addition to any misdemeanor or felony convictions, such as current pending charges, dismissed charges, and acquitted charges. People who want to investigate their lovers’ backgrounds, or an employer wanting to do a background check on a prospective employee, can use an online resource database, such as GoLookUp, to determine if someone served time in jail or prison.

GoLookUp compiles public information such as arrest, court, and criminal records, sexual offenses, traffic violations, and more, and makes it easy for Internet users to access such data. People seeking inmate information can use GoLookUp’s inmate search directory. This website provides additional data such as social media activity and contact and address information. Using GoLookUp, people can do background checks on themselves and others in various locations. If someone wanted to search for Dakota county jail arrest records, for example, they could. Typing in the name of an inmate would allow information-seekers to determine if an inmate is on the Dakota County Jail Roster. 

Doing an inmate search through GoLookUp lets someone know where and when someone served time, and what facility to reach to call, visit, and send care packages to inmates.