Being able to navigate through the myriad of websites that exist to provide people with information and records about Florida prison inmates is an important skill. Whether you need to locate a friend, a loved one, or even a family member in a hurry for legal problems, or even if you just want to find out what became of a former friend, knowing how and where to look can make the difference between a successful Florida inmate search and hours of wasted time with a search engine.
In this article, and for a number of other articles on our website, we will guide you through the process of looking up prison and jail inmates throughout the state of Florida – no matter where they are.
First, though, we should explain some of the definitions and terms that will be used both in this article and across the website.
What is the difference between jail and prison?
The primary difference between jails and prisons is the length of stay within the correctional facility. As a general rule of thumb, if an individual was convicted of a crime with a sentence of less than one year, or they are awaiting trial, then they will be housed in a jail. Alternatively, if the length of stay is expected to exceed one year, then the prisoner will be housed in a prison.
Generally speaking, individual counties, most often by the sheriff of that county, run jails. Jails typically are lower security facilities, and often allow their inmates to participate in work release programs, educational programs, and even boot camps. Prisons serve to house long-term inmates, and while they often allow for similar programs as jails, they are generally more restrictive.
Starting your Florida inmate search
The best place to begin a search for Florida inmates, whether they are housed in a jail or in a prison, is through the Florida Department of Corrections. The FDC operates an Inmate Population Information Search, located at http://www.dc.state.fl.us/ActiveInmates/search.asp, which will allow anyone to look up information about the current inmate population in Florida. A secondary resource that you may find beneficial, also provided by the FDC, can be located at http://www.dc.state.fl.us/AppCommon/. Unlike the Inmate Population Information Search Tool, the Offender Information Search can retrieve information about persons that have in the past committed offenses but may not currently be in the custody of the state.
If you are reasonably sure that the person you’re looking for is being held in the state of Florida but they are not being reflected by either of the above search engines, you can also try to contact the sheriff of the county where the person was last known to be. You can find contact information for every sheriff’s office in Florida on the corresponding county web page on our website, or by searching for “(County Name, Florida) Sheriff’s Office” in a search engine.
Why is this information important?
Whether you would just like to get in contact with an individual you haven’t seen in awhile or are even trying to find them for legal purposes – like collecting child support payments – knowing where to look for them is the first, and most important step. Additionally, if you would like to visit a prison or jail inmate, you must first be able to find them.
Jail and prison statistics in Florida
An overview of prison and jail statistics in Florida can be located at http://www.dc.state.fl.us/pub/annual/0910/stats/index.html. You can also request specific statistics through the Bureau of Research and Data Analysis at http://www.dc.state.fl.us/orginfo/research.html, or at 2601 Blair Stone Road, Tallahassee, FL 32399, or by calling 850-488-1801.
According to the Florida Department of Corrections, the average daily prison population statewide is 101,323 for the year 2009-2010. During the first quarter of fiscal year 2011-2012, there were a total of 43 escapes made from prisons. Every one of these escapes was performed during a work/release contract with the prison. Of these 44 escapes, as many as 38 former prisoners were eventually captured and returned to prison. You can find more information about prison escapes in Florida at http://www.dc.state.fl.us/pub/escape/quarter/index.html#summary.
During fiscal year 2009-2010, there were a total of 394 inmates on Florida’s death row awaiting either execution or appeal. Since 2006, the population of death row in Florida has grown steadily from 377 persons to 394. This overview can be located at http://www.dc.state.fl.us/pub/annual/0910/stats/im_deathrow.html.