How to Search the Federal Bureau of Prisons Website
The Federal Bureau of Prisons website is a helpful portal for anyone who wants to find a past or present inmate or who needs to locate a particular BOP facility. Reasons for wanting to use this portal vary and can include:
- To do a quick and free background check on someone. This portal will let you now if a certain individual has been incarcerated in a BOP facility since 1982 -- even if they have already been released. It will also help you acquire basic facts about the individuals BOP information, to help you continue your background check elsewhere in order to determine why the individual was in the BOP facility and how long they were there.
- To find a loved one who has been incarcerated so that you can visit them.
- To find contact information for a BOP facility.
- To find detailed directions and a map from your starting place to the BOP facility of your choice.
To Search By Inmate
Inmate searches at the BOP website can be performed for inmates from the year 1982 to the present. If you are looking for someone who went to a county or state jail, the BOP site will not have a listing for that individual.
1. Start your search by going to www.bop.gov. This is the website URL for the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
2. Follow the ‘Inmate Locator’ link.
3. This link will take you to a form where you can search the database by a person’s first and last name or their BOP ID number.
4. You may have the option to continue to narrow your inmate search by using a middle initial or selecting the inmate’s race, gender, and age.
5. Every inmate since 1982 that matches your search query will be displayed on the results page.
5. When you receive the search results, they will be categorized by the person’s name (including first, last, and middle if available), the register number assigned to the inmate, the person’s age, gender, and race, the release date or projected release date for the inmate, as well as which prison the person is in if they are currently incarcerated.
To Search By Federal Prison Facilities
1. Once again, begin your search by going to www.bop.gov.
2. This time follow the ‘Facility Locator’ link.
3. You will be taken to a form where you will be able to search by facility name, state region, or facility type.
4. You can also choose which of these options you want your results sorted by. So, if you want them sorted by facility name, you would check ‘Name’.
5. Click ‘Submit’
6. Results will be generated based on your search criteria. Results will include:
- The facility’s code
- The facility’s state
- The facility’s region
- The facility type (for example Central Office would be CO; Detention Center would be DC; Federal Medical Center would be FMC; etc. There is a legend on side of the page to assist you with facility codes).
7. You can then click on the facility to find out more information, including the address (with a link to MapQuest where you can get detailed directions with a customized map for your trip to the facility) and contact information.
The BOP website can be a helpful instrument for your background check, to find a friend or relative, or to learn how to get to a particular BOP facility location. Even with the slightest piece of information (and a little bit of time if you are searching through the inmate database with limited search criteria), these two helpful BOP search engines can assist you in finding the information you need.