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How to find out if someone went to prison

Updated February 21, 2017

Finding out whether someone went to prison can mean the difference between safety and harm for you and your loved ones. While there are many online websites that claim they can provide you with accurate results, the most effective way to find out if someone went to prison is to check with the government. While it may seem like a difficult task, it is actually quite simple if you follow the proper instructions and guidelines.

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  1. Find your state government's website and click on the link providing you access to the criminal history record page. This database will provide you with knowledge of the conviction and adjudication information for the crimes committed in that state. If you are concerned that someone may have committed crimes on a national level, contact the national government to access their records.

  2. Enter the possible criminal's full name and date of birth into the required fields on the webpage. There are two possible results that you will receive: "No match was found for your request" or a positive match. A positive match will provide you with the conviction information only. It may take up to two hours for the database to find the information you are looking for. You will be notified via e-mail.

  3. Contact a local law enforcement official to access additional information regarding the nature of the conviction and details about the case that will help you to further understand what happened to cause the individual to go to prison.

  4. Tip

    If you are using only a first and last name to find out whether someone went to prison, it is very possible that someone with the same name could have committed the crimes. Use fingerprint comparison at your local police department to determine whether the individual in question really went to prison. There is a fee associated with each record request (usually between £13-35) that is paid to the state for accessing their database.

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Things You'll Need

  • Search fee
  • Criminal's full name
  • Criminal's date of birth

About the Author

Freelance Writer

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