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How to find out if someone has been in jail

Updated March 21, 2017

There are dozens of reasons why you may want to find out if someone has been in jail. Employers want to know their employees' criminal histories, neighbours are interested in learning the characters of their neighbours, and both men and women alike want to learn whom they are really dating before they commit to a serious relationship.

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  1. Gather the individual's personal information. At the very least, you will need his first and last name, date of birth and/or age, and the state and city in which he resides. Other personally identifying details are not required, but they will aid you in narrowing down the results to the correct person.

  2. Visit a deep-web search engine service geared towards public records, like Pipl, Zabasearch, or CompletePlanet. Deep-web search engines search thousands of resources for information contained in places like online public records databases, and can find things like if someone has been in jail, making them much more effective than traditional search engines.

  3. Provide the individual's first and last name, age, and the city and state where he currently resides. Perform a search for public records. The results will show any records of someone being in jail, regardless of where the offence occurred or where the person was detained.

  4. Review the results to find the individual you are looking for. You may find results for numerous people with the same or similar names, but you can narrow down your results using ages, current address, even e-mail addresses and social networking profiles to help you find exactly who you are looking for.

  5. Click on any results you find listed under "public records" that appear to come from a state, governmental, or criminal records resource. From here, you can find more detailed information about the charges, the case, sentencing, and the release. You can also find where the individual was detained, for how long, and if he committed any offences while in jail.

  6. Tip

    While searching to find out if someone has been in jail is free, you may be charged a fee for access to more extensive information about the charges. You may also be able to find, review, and print original documents from the matter through these features.

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About the Author

Carrie Ferland is a practicing civil litigation defense attorney in the Philadelphia Area. As an author, her work has been featured in various legal publications for over 10 years. Ferland is a 2000 graduate of Pennsylvania State University and completed her Juris Doctorate and Master of Business Administration with the Dickinson School of Law. She is currently pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in English.

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