How to Find a Person in Jail in California: The Complete Guide

You want to find a person in jail, but you don’t know how. Google allows you to search for the inmate and will show you a website offering this service. What is the cost of this service? But what is the process? How do you even know that person is there in the first place? We’ve compiled this complete guide to help you with all your jail-finding needs.

In just five steps, we will teach you how to find a person in jail in California using various methods. This guide guides each step of the process. After reading, you will be prepared and ready to find anyone in jail!


What is Jail?

Jail is a term for the temporary confinement of people who are charged with crimes. But what does this mean? Jail is a law enforcement agency that holds people pending trial or sentencing. Inmates are confined in jails for most of the day and released at night to work or spend time with families.

Prisons, on the other hand, are facilities where inmates serve their sentences. They are typically high-security institutions where prisoners live 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Finding Someone in Jail

in California, One might ask, “How do I find a person in jail in California?” It is not as easy as it seems. There are many ways to do this.

But first things first: You need to know whether or not the person you’re looking for has been arrested and what county they’re in. The great thing about jail is that there are websites out there that allow you to search for people who have been arrested and incarcerated. If you have an inmate’s name and the county they were arrested in, then finding them will be a breeze!

If you don’t know the county, you’ll need to use another method of searching called “inmate locator.” This will provide a list of jails with inmates and their respective counties. To find a person in jail using an inmate locator, enter their name and birthdate into Google or another search engine. From here, type “inmate locator” into the search bar. When this pops up, scroll down until you see a list of names with corresponding birthdays below them.

Click on the county where your person was arrested and voila! You will be able to access information about your person’s location and release date–or at least when they were last updated on the system.

How to Find an Inmate in a California Jail

To find an inmate in a California jail, you will have to first determine the county of arrest. You can search for this information by entering the inmate’s name and birthdate on a free public records website, such as Once you have located the county of arrest, you will need to visit the county jail website and search for their inmate roster database or request a roster printout from them.

This is one way to find a person in jail in California. Other ways include looking up inmates on the state’s Department of Public Safety website (showing all inmates statewide) or visiting the office where they were booked. For those who may not be able to visit the office due to distance constraints, meeting with an attorney who specializes in criminal law may be necessary for assistance with locating an inmate through other means.

Websites of Jails in California

There are quite a few websites that offer the ability to find people in jail. However, there are only a couple of jails in California that have this available on their website. You can visit these sites to search for inmates:

  • Alameda County Sheriff’s Department
  • Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office
  • Fresno County Sheriff’s Office
  • Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
  • Madera County Jail and Sherriff’s Office
  • San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner Department
  • Ventura County Sheriff’s Office

Searching for an Inmate or Booking Number on the County’s Website

The first thing you will want to do is search for the inmate or booking number on the county’s website. If they are in a local jail, their name, booking photo, and booking information should all be easily accessible. When you find their profile, the site will likely have a search function that makes it easy to find the inmate by entering either their name or booking number.

When looking for this information on the county’s website, you might also notice links to other websites like Facebook or YouTube. These are links that you might not see when searching on Google- and they can provide useful information about the inmate’s case if there is an update.

Calling the Police Department and Requesting Information

If you want to find a person in jail, the first thing you should do is call your local police department and request information. This is the best place to start because they have all of the information about who is currently in jail. The person on the phone may ask for a name, date of birth, or address of where you think the person might be located. If you are uncomfortable giving this information, it is possible that the person isn’t in jail.

You will not be able to search for inmates yourself, but if someone has been arrested or had their bail set they will likely show up on the website that holds this information. In most cases, it’s important to call your local police department and request information before any other research steps are taken.

The website where you can look up jails is called Inmate Locator and is run by the US Department of Justice (DOJ). You can also search for people in jail using databases such as California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (CLETS) and National Crime Information Center (NCIC), but these databases are more difficult to use than inmate locator databases.

What Happens After You Find an Inmate?

After you find the inmate, there are many things you can do. You may want to send money to that person in jail. Perhaps you want to send them a note. You may just want to learn more about their prison life and how they are doing. Whatever the case, you’ll need to have the email address or phone number of the inmate for them to respond.

What to Expect if the Person Is Confirmed to Be There

The most important thing to know if you think someone is in jail is that there are two steps before you can confirm their location. Often, the first step is the hardest. To check to see if someone is in jail, you’ll need their name and date of birth. You can find this information in a variety of sources, such as:

  • The person
  • Police records
  • Social media sites
  • Family or friends
  • A public database, like a phone book or DMV website

If you don’t know the person’s name and date of birth, finding out whether they are in jail may not be easy. But with the information we have here, it should be possible! It’s time for some research once you have their names and dates of birth. If they are in custody in California, then you will be able to find them using one of these methods:

  • The general inmate search
  • Jail locator by county
  • Arrest records by county

You will need to choose a method depending on your needs and what information you have available. These three methods each have different levels of access – some allow for more thorough searches than others. No matter which method you decide on though, it is important that the inmate has not been released from custody before doing your search so that the data is up-to-date.

Subsection 4.2 What to Expect If the Person Isn’t Confirmed to Be There

If the inmate is not in jail, you will need to contact the sheriff or county to find out why. You can call and ask if the person has been released or if they’re there for another reason. If they were never arrested, you will want to find out why that is and whether it’s possible to have their record expunged.


After reading this article, you should have a good idea of how to find a person in jail in California. If you have any questions or additions, You can ask questions and add them to the list in the comments below.

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