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Where to Find North Carolina Inmate Records

Inmate records in North Carolina are maintained by the North Carolina Department of Public Safety (NCDPS). According to chapter 148 article 7 of the North Carolina General Statutes, the records section of the NCDPS is required to collect, classify, and maintain vital information of all inmates housed in any of the state’s 57 correctional centers. Examples of information in the record include names, date of birth, photographs, and fingerprints of inmates. This information is often needed by law enforcement agencies, correctional agencies, or courts for investigation or statistics purposes. Sometimes, individuals or employers may use the records to carry out background checks on ex-convicts.

Are Incarceration Records Public Information in North Carolina?

Yes, incarceration records are available to members of the public in North Carolina. According to G. S. 132.1, public documents like incarceration records are ‘property of the people’ since public agencies create them. Hence, interested persons can contact the approved record custodian to obtain a copy of the record. While some information on these records is available online, other sensitive details may only be accessible to law enforcement agencies and other authorized bodies in North Carolina.

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 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 the person resides in or was accused of.

Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

What Information is Contained in a North Carolina Inmate Record?

The information found on the North Carolina inmate record can be divided into three sections. These are:

  • Offender information: this includes the prisoner’s basic information. Details such as the offender’s name, photograph, number, gender, race, age, and date of birth are included here.
  • Incarceration summary: This shows the date of conviction, projected release date, type of crime, prison location, etc.
  • Sentence history: This section reveals the sentence number, offense date, and jail term of the prisoner.

The records section compiles inmate records in North Carolina under the direction of the Secretary of Public Safety. The documents are created once an individual is committed to one of the state prisons.

Where do I Look Up an Inmate in North Carolina?

State residents can look up inmates in North Carolina by contacting the approved custodian of the record. At the state level, the NCDPS maintains a central repository that is easily accessible online. However, the online database may be limited or not up to date. It is advisable to contact the department via mail or call to obtain comprehensive inmate information. Note that state prisons are different from city jails. As a result, inmates committed to city or county jails may not be available at the central repository. Information on prisoners in city jails may be found by visiting the county sheriff or police department in the city.

How Do I Conduct an Inmate Search in North Carolina?

As indicated earlier, inmate information in the state of North Carolina is available at approved state and county agencies. Requesters can mail or call the record custodian to obtain inmate records of prisoners in city or county jails. Meanwhile, some counties provide an online search platform that may be free or easily accessible.

Below are the methods of conducting an inmate search in North Carolina state prisons.

  • Online: Open the online database (offender search) and provide the full names to find information on the inmate. To narrow the search, it is advisable to provide other details such as the offender’s number, gender, date of birth, and age range. Requesters may also search active, inactive, or probationer inmates only.
  • Mail-in: Requesters interested in getting physical copies of inmates’ information may send a mail or call the North Carolina Department of Public Safety.

512 North Salisbury Street

4201 Mail Service Center

Raleigh, NC 27699–4201

Phone: (919) 733–2126

  • Contact state prisons: Individual state prisons in North Carolina may also offer information concerning inmates committed to the facility.

How Can I Find an Inmate for Free in North Carolina?

Inmate records that are accessible online via the NCDPS webpage are provided free of charge. The online database includes information on released inmates, absconders, and captured inmates who escaped. Note that most counties offer the same service at no cost. However, requesters may be charged for printing physical copies of these records.

How to Find Old Inmate Records in North Carolina

The North Carolina Department of Public Safety provides an inmate database that dates back to 1972. Interested persons may contact the department directly if such old inmate records are not accessible online. To get a copy of this record, mail or call requests should be sent to:

512 North Salisbury Street

4201 Mail Service Center

Raleigh, NC 27699–4201

Phone: (919) 733–2126

Archive records beyond 1972 may be found at the state archives of North Carolina.

State Archives of North Carolina

4614 Mail Service Center

109 E. Jones St. Raleigh, NC 27601

Phone: (919) 814–6840

How do I Find Inmate Death Records in North Carolina

Inmate death records in North Carolina may be available at the Department of Public Safety. The chief medical examiner in North Carolina may also provide information on inmates if their death was suspicious. Requesters can fill the online request form to obtain the death certificate, report, or autopsy of North Carolina’s inmates. The office equally accepts mail or call-in requests that are sent to:

Office of the Chief Medical Examiner

3025 Mail Service Center

Raleigh, NC 27699–3025

Phone: (919) 743–9000

Note that the records of inmates placed on death row may not be available at the office of the chief medical examiner. The Department of Public Safety publishes such records in North Carolina.

How do I Conduct a Federal Prison Inmate Search?

Federal prisons housed in any of the federal prisons in North Carolina may be accessible via the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ online inmate search. Requesters can find inmates on the web page by inputting the offender’s name or registration number (BOP number). Alternatively, requesters can look-up federal inmates by contacting the federal prison directly.

Federal Correctional Complex, Butner

3000, Old 75 Highway

Butner, NC 27509

Phone: (919) 575–5000


Rivers Correctional Institute

145 Parker’s Fishery Road

Winton, NC 27986

Phone: 252–358–5200


How Long Does it Take For An Inmate’s Information to Be Published in North Carolina Inmate Locator?

In North Carolina, inmates committed to a correctional center are initially classified and given an I. D. number (offender number). Through the process of classification, information like fingerprints and photographs of the inmate are compiled. Within 24 hours, these details may be published on the North Carolina offender search. The online database is regularly updated according to each inmate’s current sentence status.

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