Many jails in the United States have systems in place for making an arrest inquiry. Some smaller facilities generally provide information through the officer or desk staff at the facility. Automated phone prompts also can provide information, and Internet sites have become a more common way to look up inmate records. When making an arrest inquiry, searching for an individual by name is often enough. If the location of the person is known, a phone call to the local police can lead to an inmate look-up for accessing date of arrest, preliminary charges, and court dates. Using the Internet to find information typically begins with searching on the location where the arrest was made and on terms such as inmate look-up and arrest search, or by jail name.
Finding the phone number for a city or county jail facility often is the first step in making an arrest inquiry. In a telephone book, the numbers may be found in the opening pages among the listings for government offices. Looking under headings such as sheriff’s office, police department, and jail also can lead to a main facility phone number. Once a number is found, an operator may direct a caller to choose options for finding information on a specific individual.
A website search in a particular place may include “Orange County inmate information,” “Miami sheriff’s department,” or “Las Vegas arrest inquiry,” for example. Once a website is found, search boxes within the jail site can often lead to the desired information. Entering a name for the arrested individual may yield a results page with details such as a physical description and an arrest photo. Information on websites may even be found by searching on race, sex, and partial name of the individual. If a name is not known and an arrest inquiry is being made to find an offender by the date and location where the crime was committed, some sites provide options to narrow the search.
Some U.S. cities now have newspapers and Internet magazine sites that make arrest information available. These publications compile arrest photos and details into a single source for those interested in reading about local crimes and misdemeanors. Making an arrest inquiry by leafing through these papers or a local paper is an option for those without telephone or computer access. Arrest information in the U.S. is generally made public, and those compiling the records often make it easy to access.