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Illinois Inmate Search

An Illinois inmate search allows the public to search for inmates using personal information like a name, date of birth, or IDOC number. The Illinois Department of Correction (IDOC) is in charge of inmate searches in the state, although the public can also use third-party sites that offer the same information.


What Are Illinois Inmate Records?

Illinois inmate records refer to the information on those who are in the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections or any other correctional facility found in the state. Under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act, inmate records are public records and are available whenever the public request them. 

An inmate search in Illinois may contain the following information about incarcerated individuals:

  • Name (first and last name, sometimes also an alias)
  • Birth date
  • Physical profile
  • Identity or DOC number
  • Offender status
  • Mug shots
  • Sentence information
  • Facility held
  • Date of admission
  • Date of release


What Are Illinois Prison and Jail Records?

According to the Illinois Department of Corrections, jails are correctional facilities managed by municipalities and counties in the state, whereas prisons are correctional facilities managed and operated by the state or even the federal government. Felons incarcerated by the courts go to the Illinois Department of Corrections, which is a state-operated prison. The sheriff manages county jails under the County Jail Act (730 ILCS 125/).

In 2019, the National Institute of Corrections identified 92 jails in the state of Illinois with a population of 19,110 inmates. The state has 28 prison facilities housing 38,259 inmates. 


How To Perform Inmate Search in Illinois?

Individuals who want to perform an Illinois inmate search can do so by contacting the Department of Corrections. For an easier search, the IDOC has an available search tool online where the public can find inmates using an IDOC number, a last name or a birthdate. Local counties also have tools to locate inmates using a quick online search. 

In case an inmate’s record is not available, the public may reach out to the Department of Correction using the hotline at 217-558-2200. 

A third-party website may also provide information on inmate records in Illinois though the information may vary and may not be updated. 

Note that the information of incarcerated individuals who have completed their sentence will not be displayed in any jail or prison records. However, the public may still request inmate information through the archived records by completing the contact form with the General Subject of Record Search addressed to the IDOC. 

Requesters should include the following personal information:

  • First and last name
  • Address
  • City
  • Zip code
  • Email
  • Question/request

Phone numbers, an IDOC number, and facility are all optional but can make an Illinois inmate search faster to process. 


How To Contact an Inmate in Illinois?

Individuals can contact inmates in Illinois via mail. Instead of an address, the inmate’s IDOC number must be indicated on the envelope. The IDOC strictly prohibits the following or they will return the letter:

  • Contraband
  • Pre-embossed, pre-stamped, or stickered envelopes
  • Postage stamps
  • Plain envelopes

Another way of contacting an inmate in Illinois is through an electronic messaging service. Family members and other individuals can send electronic messages or even do a video visitation for a fee using the new service available at the IDOC. Aside from a step-by-step guide on account creation, interested individuals must provide the following information to proceed: 

  • Inmate ID (IDOC number)
  • Name (first and last name)
  • Date of birth
  • Site ID: 169 (this information is applicable to any IDOC locations)

Note as well that there are fees involved ranging from $0.30 to $13.75 depending on the type of electronic message. 


How To Visit an Inmate in Illinois?

To date, the Illinois Department of Correction implements a multi-phase plan to ensure the safety of visitors and inmates during visitation. Due to COVID restrictions, visitors inside the jail and prison facilities are limited to two-hour blocks and must adhere to visitation schedules.

An individual must first perform an Illinois inmate search to ensure that the incarcerated person is really in the custody of the IDOC. After that, visitors must be on the incarcerated individual’s approved list of visitors. If not, a letter addressed to the IDOC is needed to be put on the list. 

The IDOC also requires visitors to schedule their visit at least seven (7) days ahead using an online tool. Visitors who are not yet registered online must do so within 30 minutes to avoid timeout. 

Upon scheduling the visitation, visitors must arrive 10 minutes before the scheduled time and call the staff facility for proper guidance. All visitors are inmate facilities in Illinois are required to undergo or provide the following:

  • Two valid IDs (one should be a state-issued identification)
  • Vehicle information, if applicable
  • Temperature screening 

All visitors aged 2 and beyond are given a surgical mask, although face coverings may be taken off briefly for identification purposes upon entrance and exit of the facility. Individuals may find more information on IDOC’s visitation rules using their website. 


How To Send Money to an Inmate in Illinois?

Inmates in Illinois can still receive money via electronic payments or through money orders. 

For electronic payments, individuals can use Global Tel*Link, JPAY, Western Union, or Money Gram.

Except for Money Gram which can only receive a maximum of $3,000, all other electronic payment methods can accept a maximum of $5,000 and will be applied to the inmate’s account within 24-48 business hours. Money Gram transfers take longer at 72-96 business hours. 

Individuals who wish to send money to inmates via Money Gram must use the Blue Money Gram Express Payment Form with a receiving code of 7364. 

For Western Union transactions, individuals must use the Quick Collect Form with the ILDOC IL as the code for city and state. 

All electronic fund transfer requires the inmate’s IDOC number and last name. 

For money orders, the maximum amount that an inmate can receive must not exceed $999.99. All money orders should be payable to JPay, and the sender must send the deposit slip to PO Box 260250 Hollywood, FL 33026.

Individuals who wish to send money orders must include the following information: 

  • Lockbox deposit slip
  • Inmate’s complete name
  • IDOC number
  • Sender’s complete name
  • Sender’s complete address

Counties in Illinois