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The North Carolina State Prison System

The state of North Carolina runs a central prison system under the auspices of the North Carolina Department of Corrections (NCDOC). With headquarters in Raleigh, NCDOC is an arm of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety.

What is the Difference Between Jail and Prison in North Carolina?

A fundamental distinction between a jail and a prison in North Carolina is that a jail is under the management of the local county government or municipality and a prison is under the management of the state incarceration system. Another key difference is that jails are used to accommodate inmates serving short sentences ( less than a year) or awaiting trial, while prisons hold convicted inmates, serving felony sentences for over a year. For this reason, each facility is constructed to meet the needs of the inmates as required. The jail system design is for short-term stay and exposure to reformatory programs. Prison systems adopt a much more elaborate holistic support, such as the low security, medium-security, and maximum security prison facilities.

How Many Prisons are in North Carolina?

The North Carolina Department of Corrections manages fifty-five correctional institutions under four regions:

Eastern region

401 W. Belvoir Rd.

Greenville, NC 27834

Telephone: (252) 830–3466

Bertie Correctional Institution

Caledonia Correctional Institution

Carteret Correctional Center

Craven Correctional Institution

Eastern Correctional Institution

Greene Correctional Institution

Hyde Correctional Institution

Johnston Correctional Institution

Maury Correctional Institution

Neuse Correctional Institution

Odom Correctional Institution

Pamlico Correctional Institution

Pasquotank Correctional Institution

Tyrrell Prison Work Farm


430 N.Salisbury St.

Raleigh, NC 27699


4267 MSC

Raleigh, NC 27699

Telephone: (919) 582–6125

Anson Correctional Institution - Female

Caswell Correctional Center

Central Prison

Dan River Prison Work Farm

Franklin Correctional Center

Nash Correctional Institution

North Carolina Correctional Institution for Women

Orange Correctional Center

Polk Correctional Institution

Randolph Correctional Center

Swannanoa Correctional Center for Women

Wake Correctional Center

Warren Correctional Institution


309 Colombo St. SW

Valdese, NC 28690

Telephone: (828) 757–5738

Alexander Correctional Institution

Avery Mitchell Correctional Institution

Caldwell Correctional Center

Catawba Correctional Center

Craggy Correctional Center

Davidson Correctional Center

Foothills Correctional Institution

Forsyth Correctional Center

Gaston Correctional Center

Lincoln Correctional Center

Marion Correctional Institution

Mountain View Correctional Institution

Piedmont Correctional Institution

Rutherford Correctional Center

Wilkes Correctional Center

South Central

180 Sandhills Dr.

McCain, NC 28361


P. O. Box 1870

Raeford, NC 28376

Telephone: (910) 944–2359

Albemarle Correctional Institution

Columbus Correctional Institution

Harnett Correctional Institution

Hoke Correctional Institution

Lumberton Correctional Institution

Morrison Correctional Institution

New Hanover Correctional Center

Pender Correctional Institution

Sampson Correctional Institution

Sanford Correctional Center

Scotland Correctional Institution

Southern Correctional Institution

Tabor Correctional Institution

How do I search for an Inmate in North Carolina State Prison?

The North Carolina Department of Public Safety maintains a register of persons incarcerated in state prisons. Information in this register includes currently serving inmates, probationers, and parolees.

To begin, go to the offender search page of the NCDPS Offender Public Information. Enter the offender status, which may be active, parole, or inactive. Enter the full names, offender registration number ( also called the OPUS number), sex,race,ethnicity,date of birth, and age range. If all the information listed is accurate regarding the case at hand, the search should return a list of inmates’ information that matches the selection criteria. Click on the relevant offender ID. It should open up the personal profile page of the inmate. The personal profile page gives information about the location of the facility where the inmate is held.

Are Incarceration Records Public in North Carolina?

Unless otherwise instructed, incarceration records are public under the North Carolina Public Records Law. Instructions to seal incarceration records will render it invisible in the search for public records. Also, should the record be expunged or sealed for any reason, it renders it unavailable for public access.

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 Look Up Jail Records in North Carolina?

A quick way to look up jail records in North Carolina is to access the criminal history summary of the individual of interest. The criminal history summary provides concisely all officially documented criminal activities of an individual in the state. The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation provides that information on request. Jail records are under the auspices of the local County or City sheriff department. To access primary copies, visit the local county sheriff’s department or contact their office through the respective county website. To make the search easy, have the names, inmate number, and other basic identifying information of the individual ready. Arrest records are also available at the agency office that effected the arrest.

Can Jail Records be Expunged in North Carolina?

Expunction is a legal procedure in North Carolina to remove a criminal conviction from a person’s record. Under the laws of the state, arrests that did not lead to convictions qualify for expunction of all related information, including jail records. Certain cases of juvenile delinquency that warranted jail time may undergo expunction upon meeting specific criteria. If a jail inmate earned a pardon, all related information to the case would be subject to expunction. When the process is complete, the involved individual has a right to deny the incident.

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