How can I find out if someone I used to know is in prison?
October 7, 2008 3:49 PM   Subscribe

How can I find out if someone I used to know is in prison?

I live in Canada, and about a decade ago, I knew this guy who had just been charged with robbing someone at knifepoint. And before that, he always told me that he always wanted to be a "godfather" kind of person. He watched the movies over and over. At that point, I basically stopped talking to him and avoided him at all costs. Sometimes, I google his name, but I just get other people. But at the same time, I am curious as to the trajectory of his life. I'm curious what transpired. How can I find out if this dude is in the penal system?
posted by Sully to Law & Government (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I have no idea how things work in Canada but in Pennsylvania all criminal court records dating back to the '70s are now online, easily searched and updated in real time. All you need to know is the person's name and what county they were charged in (though a birth date helps if it's a common name) and you can pull up their court docket. Information about whether or not they are still currently incarcerated, and where they are incarcerated if they are still incarcerated, is contained within the docket. Reading a court docket can be confusing and fully understanding the information contained therein might require help, but whether or not they are still locked up is easy to locate and is a simple yes/no field.

So, basically, I would say that the first step is to do a search on your general area and see if court records have been moved online yet.
posted by The Straightener at 3:57 PM on October 7, 2008

What state do you think he is in prison, if he is in prison? Most state corrections departments have "inmate locators." If he was incarcerated by the state of Alabama, for example, you could use Alabama's inmate locator. If you think he is in federal prison, use the federal inmate locator.
posted by kellygreen at 4:41 PM on October 7, 2008

Googling "inmate locator" yielded this pretty decent list of all the state inmate locators.
posted by kellygreen at 4:47 PM on October 7, 2008 would help if it was the US; maybe he moved down here?
posted by baylink at 4:55 PM on October 7, 2008

each province and their courts have a database that is searchable. Use this site to find which jurisdiction is appropriate for your needs.
posted by Country Dick Montana at 6:14 PM on October 7, 2008 [1 favorite]

in the states you can look it up online......a couple of my old classmates are doin' time.....
posted by patnok at 6:48 PM on October 7, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks everyone!
posted by Sully at 8:06 PM on October 7, 2008

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