California Inmate Search

What are California Inmate Records?

California inmate records consist of various forms, documents, images, audio clips, DNA, fingerprints, video, and other types of media that document an individual’s criminal history and their incarceration in prison or jail.

These records come from court records, the local police (such as mug shots, police reports, arrest warrants, and other jail paperwork), and California’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation organization. Other records may be created while the person is held in a specific facility.

Some California inmate records are public records and may be found online using an inmate search tool. These records will have basic personal information like the inmate’s name, address, date of birth, age, and physical description. They may also show more detailed information. Inmate record access is left up to each state individually.

California Prison and Jail System

California has 35 state prisons spread across the large state. Some of them serve women inmates only and some men. One of them is used to treat inmates with substance abuse issues. Another is specifically designed for rehabilitation, and another facility is a healthcare and medical office. California also has 44 conservation/fire camps where low-risk inmates work, fighting forest fires and learning to reintegrate back into society. California houses about 131,000 inmates in state prison.

Each local county has its own jail facilities as well. California has roughly 110 county jails that hold temporary inmates awaiting bail or trial and those serving very short sentences (usually less than one year). There are about 82,000 inmates in local jails.

How to Search for Inmates in California


The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (DOC) has a search tool on its website where the public can search for an inmate using their CDCR # (inmate ID) or their name. The results will show a list of anyone who matches the criteria. From there, the searcher can scroll through each record showing the inmate’s name, age, admission date, and current location to narrow down their search. They can click the name to get additional details that only include a parole date and information about victims and parole eligibility.

Someone can then take these records and cross reference them with criminal court records to find out more about their crimes and sentencing. An easy way to search inmate records would be to use the InfoTracer search tool, rather than visit multiple websites to get the information. Victims can use the VINE website to search and set up alerts when someone who has harmed them is about to be released. 

How to Contact, Send Money to or Visit an Inmate in California

California allows family and friends to contact inmates and send them money or gifts through the mail directly to the facility where they are incarcerated. The DOC offers three ways to send money to an inmate (EFT, lockbox, or by mail). The instructions for this service are here.

Along with in-person visitation, the California DOC allows video chat calls between inmates and family using the Webex video system. To visit an inmate in person, you must follow the guidelines here.

Federal Jails

Police Departments in California