What is the best way to go about performing a county jail inmate search? How do you find out where somebody is incarcerated, when they will be released, what their charges are, etc.?
Step 1: Inmate search online
To do this, you need to at least have an idea of what jail your inmate is in. Go find the official jail's website - you might get lucky, sometimes they have arrest logs published online so you can easily go see if your inmate is there (and when they will be released). Usually these will include booking photos.
Step 2: Inmate search on the phone If the jail doesn't offer this information online, they almost always will over the phone. Arrest records are public information - you, as a member of the public, have the right to find out this crucial information. Beware, you may be bounced around between a few departments when you call the jail - this is normal. Just be patient and you should find the information you need without too much of a hassle.
Step 3: Go to the jail
If you still aren't able to get through to somebody willing to confirm that your inmate is incarcerated or give you the necessary information, go to the jail in person. This shows that you are serious and again, since this is publicly-available information, they shouldn't mind looking up the inmate's record and giving you the information. They cannot refuse you the information.
Step 4: Background Check
If you aren't sure what county or even state your inmate is located in, following these steps in each county may not be reasonable. In that case your options are limited. There are really no free databases of arrest logs available that aggregate arrest records from different counties into one database. The best thing that you can do is perform a background check and hope that their most recent arrest log will be included in the background check.