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Minnesota Court Records

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Where to Find Minnesota Inmate Records

After conviction by the judiciary, correctional facilities in Minnesota oversee and maintain records relating to all inmates at the county and state levels. The Sheriff’s Department is responsible for creating, maintaining, and disseminating inmate records at county jails at the county level. On the other hand, the Minnesota Department of Corrections (MNDOC) functions as the central administrative agency for county jails and state prisons. Likewise, the Federal Bureau of Prisons maintains records on inmates incarcerated in federal prisons across the state.

Are Incarceration Records Public Information in Minnesota?

Yes. For criminal justice agencies, maintaining and providing interested persons with non-confidential information on inmates is a statutory duty under the Minnesota Data Practices Act.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching more straightforward, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide: 

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile 
  • The location or assumed location of the document or person involved 

Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party websites may vary. 

What Information is Contained in a Minnesota Inmate Record?

An inmate record in Minnesota will typically contain the following information:

  • Full legal name
  • Date of birth
  • Gender
  • Sentence data
  • Offense history
  • Facility of incarceration
  • Contact information of caseworker
  • Court case numbers

Where do I Look Up an Inmate in Minnesota?

The method to use is a matter of convenience, location of the inmate, and the facility’s public request policy. Generally, these include: 

  • At the administrative office (in-person or mail)
  • Online search

How Do I Conduct an Inmate Search in Minnesota?

  • In-person and mail requests:

Generally, correctional facilities in Minnesota have established channels for interested members of the public to request inmate records. An in-person visit to the record custodian’s office or the correctional facility is one of such means. Mail requests must go in a self-addressed stamped envelope containing a written request for the inmate record and citing the state’s public records law.

If the offender is detained or incarcerated at the county jail, visit or send a mail request to the Sheriff’s Office or the county jail. Interested individuals can find a local correctional facility contact information on the county official website or local law enforcement website.

Either way, the requester must possess the necessary information on the inmate. These include name, offender identification number, and date of incarceration.  

  • Online search:

If a party does not know which state facility is housing an inmate, they may use the MNDOC Offender Locator. The Offender Locator is a central database for offenders and inmates within the state jurisdiction. However, a drawback is that it may take several business days for inmate information from local jails to reflect. To find publicly available records on inmates in local jails, visit the official jail website. For example, Anoka County maintains an online inmate locator, and the Hennepin County Sheriff Office maintains an online jail roster. 

To use the Locator, the searcher must know the inmate’s full name or MNDOC offender I. D. Upon query, the database returns search results based on the parameter used. The Offender I. D. is the best way to bypass multiple search results, as it is unique to every offender. Once the database displays search results, the searcher may select one for further information, such as the offender’s mugshot and other details.  

How Can I Find an Inmate for Free in Minnesota?

Generally, it is a statutory requirement for requesters to bear the cost of searching, reproducing, and certifying a public record. Nevertheless, one may bypass this paywall with an appeal to the record custodian. The record custodian will typically grant a fee waiver at his/her discretion. The requester must demonstrate that the record is in the public best interests and for non-commercial purposes. 

How to Find Old Inmate Records in Minnesota

Interested persons must contact the Records Management Division of the Department of Corrections via phone at (651) 361–7330 or fax at (651) 643–3588. The division also processes inquiries via email at CO-Records.DOC@state.mn.us. The requester must know and provide the inmate’s name, approximate date of incarceration, and physical description in his/her correspondence with Records Management. Likewise, archived inmate records are available via this online database of the Minnesota Historical Society Library.

How do I Find Inmate Death Records in Minnesota?

State laws require the Department of Corrections to register inmate deaths with the Department of Health (DOH). The DOH allows public access to non-certified non-sensitive death records from 1997 until date through this database. For older death records, the requester may search the Minnesota Historical Archives.

How do I Conduct a Federal Prison Inmate Search? 

Federal prisons house offenders convicted of federal crimes and depending on the severity of the crime, offenders are held in minimum or maximum-security facilities. All federal prisons in Minnesota are under the administration of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). To find an inmate at the prison, use the BOP Inmate locator. BOP allows searchers to find information on inmates incarcerated as far back as 1982. To achieve this, the searcher may use the offender’s unique BOP number or full name.

Furthermore, providing additional information such as race, age, and sex helps narrow down the search from thousands of results. Bear in mind that records on inmates incarcerated before 1982 are only available on the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) website. There, the searcher will have access to a database of inmate information from 1870 to 1981.

How Long Does it Take For An Inmate’s Information to Be Published in Minnesota Inmate Locator?

It takes a few business days for an inmate’s information to be published. It is common practice for local jails and state prisons to publish or update the information of newly incarcerated individuals at midnight. However, the availability of information is mostly dependent on technology at the facility and the number of staff that handles the processing or booking of inmates. Thus, it may take a few business days to see published information on the Minnesota Inmate Locator.

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