How To Find an Inmate ID Number

By Natalie

Updated: January 22, 2020

When you are exploring PrisonInsight, you might notice that an inmate’s ID number is essential when it comes to any kind of communication with a prisoner ─ whether it’s sending mail, accepting phone calls, getting approved for a visit, or sending money. 

When you have a loved one who is behind bars, you won’t be able to communicate with them if you don’t have their inmate ID number. These digits are required when you set up a phone account to accept calls from the inmate, or when setting up an account to send the inmate money. You also need to include this number on all correspondence via snail mail, and you need to know this number when you arrive for a visit.

Since this is such an important piece of information, we think it’s essential that you know how to easily access your inmate’s ID number when they wind up in prison.

That leads us to today’s blog post: how do you find an inmate ID number?

In this blog post, I will cover the following topics:

  • What is the inmate ID number?
  • Where can you find an inmate ID number?
  • Does an inmate ID number ever change?

What is the inmate ID number?

The inmate ID number is similar to a free person’s social security number. It is the number the Department of Corrections or Federal Bureau of Prisons uses to identify an inmate in all of their personal paperwork, and it is used for all prison operations that the inmate is involved in.

When the inmate is called out for a visit, doctor’s appointment, or anything else in the prison community, their inmate ID is always included. This is especially important when a prison has multiple inmates with the same name. 

The number is printed on an inmate’s ID that they are required to have on them at all times, and it is how they are identified. I didn’t hear my first name for four years. Instead, I was referred to by my last name, my prison nickname, or by my ID number.

Where can you find an inmate ID number?

The easiest way to find an inmate’s ID number is online. If your inmate is in federal prison, you can find their number on the BOP website. If your inmate is in state prison, you can find their number on that state’s DOC website.

To find an inmate number on the BOP website, you need the inmate’s first and last name. Any extra info you can provide will help the process. If you know the inmate’s middle name, their gender, their race, or their age, it will help the site narrow down the database so they can find your inmate.

The same thing goes for inmates in state prison. Every state’s DOC website will have the option to find your inmate, and all you have to do is click on that option and provide the information they need to share your inmate’s ID number.

You can also ask for this information when the inmate calls you collect or when they send you a letter. The inmate is required to include their inmate ID number on their mail, so that information will be on the envelope.

If you don’t want to wait for a phone call or letter, the best way to find this information is online. If you call the prison and ask for them to provide this information over the phone, they will probably not give out this information.

Does an inmate ID number ever change?

As long as you are in the same system, your inmate ID number doesn’t change. For example, if you are a federal prisoner, your inmate ID number won’t change when you are transferred between federal prisons. 

The same goes for someone in a state system. If you are transferred between prisons in the same state, your inmate ID number doesn’t change.

The only time your inmate ID number changes is if you are released in one state, and then get arrested and go to prison in another. Your inmate ID number will be different in different states. If you switch from state prison to federal prison, or vice versa, your inmate ID number will change.

When you have a loved one in prison, finding out their inmate ID number is one of the first things you need to do. Without this information, it’s impossible to send them money or letters, get on their visitor list, and you won’t be able to set up a phone account.

As soon as your loved one is put in prison, make sure you find out their ID number right away, so you can keep in touch with them when they are behind bars.

Do you have a horror story about finding an inmate ID number? Let us know in the comments below.


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  • My wife was released from Alderson West Virginia in 1997.Her stimulus check is being held back because they can’t find her release date.How can she get her inmate number

    • Hmmm….well, have you tried calling the facility and asking how to get than information? Someone should be able to help you.

  • My brother is due to be released in two months and all of the sudden he is no longer found in the system. When we type in his name and or his inmate number it comes up as no matches found. This has been going on for about three weeks now. He has not been released he has not been transferred and nobody will give us any information. He’s very sick he is now using a colostomy bag because he didn’t get adequate care while in custody and we are all very worried about him and are at a loss of who to contact for help.

  • I’m very frustrated I’m trying to find out information on someone an every one of the sites that gives u all records on people says it free iv been on every site ther is an still can find one that is free like it says

    • If you are trying to find information like an inmate ID number and the facility your inmate is in, go directly to the state’s DOC website. or, if they are in a federal prison, visit Those sites are free. If you are trying to find out more than the prison they are in or their inmate ID number, there is nowhere online you will be able to find out other details.

  • can not find my daughter’s inmate number i am 66 years old with no help i need tobond her out can not call her my phone is blocked from jail do not have access to her at all


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