Washington Department of Corrections State Prisons
State prisons in Washington are searchable through the Department of Corrections (DOC) website. The Washington State DOC gives you access to public records and custody status of current prisoners in the state system.
In Washington State, the DOC search includes country jails and other correctional facilities. The only facilities not included in the DOC search are federal facilities. However, the information provided is not updated in real time and might be around 24 hours delayed. If the inmate you're searching for has only recently been arrested or processed, they may not be in the online search system yet. Only currently incarcerated people can be searched.
Search options on the DOC site are extremely limited in Washington. You can enter a specific DOC number for the inmate you're searching or you can enter their last name. No other search features are available to narrow the list down or affect your results. You cannot search for multi-word terms at all.
DOC Notification Systems
Through the DOC in Washington State, you're able to sign up for the Statewide Automated Victim Information & Notification service (SAVIN). This is powered by the national VINE service. It's a notification system that can send you direct alerts when the status or location of an inmate changes in any way. You can be alerted about transfers, releases, and other custody status updates as they happen.
For victims and witnesses in certain cases, an advanced notification system is available to keep you informed. You must be eligible to sign up for the service. It is not available to all members of the public.
The SAVIN system is not available for inmates held in King County Jail. For this particular facility, you need to register separately for alerts. You can register through the VINE system, though it's a separate registration from the statewide registration. There are no other counties excluded from the service.
Federal Prisons in Washington State
You can't search for inmates in a federal prison through the DOC system. Instead, you'll use the tool provided by the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). This tool is used to search federal prisons across the country, including in Washington state. Using the search tool, you'll get information on current and previous inmates in the federal prison systems since 1982.
To search, you need to know either the inmate's first and last name or one of their inmate identification numbers. Numbers you can use include their INS number, FBI number, BOP register number, or DCDC number. When searching by name, you need their first and last names and can add a middle name as well. If you want to narrow down your results, you can input their race, age, and sex to get a smaller list of matches.
Manual Inmate Searches
You can perform inmate searches in person rather than using internet searching tools. There might be some fees to pay in the process for clerk time spent on the requests. You're also likely to use a lot of time making calls, driving to locations, and generally trying to communicate with the people you need to.
Manual inmate searches are only practical when information is not available online and you're relatively sure you know which facility the inmate is at. If you're not sure where they are and you can't narrow it down to a few specific places, you may want to simply wait until you can find the information online or look for a service like CheckPeople that can give you a little more background information on what's happening to the inmate.
Third-Party Search Options
Online, you can find multiple options for third-party inmate searches. While these aren't government-sponsored efforts, they can help you search through a large number of publicly available records that you may not have found on your own. The best option in Washington state is CheckPeople.
With CheckPeople, you won't get prompted to pay upcharges to view the information you search, and you won't be assaulted with irritating ads throughout the site. There's only one fee you need to pay to use the service, regardless of what you're searching for or how many searches you perform.
What Makes CheckPeople a Good Choice?
Paying the fee gets you an entire month of CheckPeople service with unlimited searches. That means even if you can't find the inmate you're looking for right away, you can try again another day and see if the information has been updated. You're not going to have an onslaught of ads thrown around every time you open the site, and you'll never be charged extra for search results.
Public records will be clearly displayed for you to view. It's not going to be complicated or overly difficult to find what you're looking for in the results. Get straight to the point and stay yourself time by using the best option first.
CheckPeople makes a stressful process a little easier for you. Get the results you want within minutes, narrowed down to show you want you're looking for faster.