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Wisconsin Court Records

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Where to Find Wisconsin Inmate Records

An inmate is confined to an institution, in this case, for disciplinary purposes. The institutions generate and maintain reports of the admissions, progress, and release of prisoners within their systems—these items makeup inmate records. Inmate records are available at the state central incarceration centers and the local jail facilities in each county or city. The Wisconsin Department of Corrections generates and maintains records concerning inmates in state facilities. County law enforcement agencies have oversight of inmate information in their jail facilities. A critical difference between a jail and a prison facility is that prison facilities hold inmates for sentences of more than a year while jails detain persons under trial or incarceration penalties for fewer than one year.

Are Incarceration Records Public Information in Wisconsin?

Incarceration records in Wisconsin fall under the category of public records. Anyone interested in viewing incarceration records can visit any of the repositories for information. There are no restrictions about who is eligible to view incarceration records in Wisconsin.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a 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 record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.

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

What Information is Contained in a Wisconsin Inmate Record?

How much information is available about a Wisconsin inmate depends on the operating guidelines of the confinement facility. Some request more information than others. However, the following information is present in an inmate record:

  • Names of inmate
  • Correction ID of the inmate
  • Details of the offense they committed
  • The sentence and other penalties
  • Detailed information about previous convictions and incarceration
  • The address of the incarceration facility
  • Programs, educational attainments, and jobs.

When a prison-sentenced convict arrives at the center, they go to a holding center to see counselors and correction department staff who decide the class of security to adopt for the inmate. The period of stay varies but rarely exceeds eight weeks.

Where do I Look Up an Inmate in Wisconsin?

Whether the facility is county-based or state-owned, parties must have the following information:

  • Inmate full names
  • Name of the county where the inmates receive the sentence
  • Address of the incarceration facility where the inmate is currently serving time
  • Inmate identification number

One way to lookup an inmate in the state is to visit their incarceration facility in person. Some rules and regulations attend the decision to go in person. Contact the incarceration facility for the requirements or locate the instructions on the respective websites. Some general requirements include scheduling a visit only during visitation periods. Most of them require that visitors book an appointment before coming over. The Department of Corrections office is located at:

3099 East Washington Ave.

Madison, WI 53704

Another option is to lookup an inmate by accessing the electronic registers that the facility makes available online. In Wisconsin, local county jails are under supervision by the local law enforcement agency, usually a sheriff’s department. Therefore, visiting the agency website will provide access to the inmates’ register for that county. A limitation is that updates may not be as regular as a direct visit to the facility. State facilities have online registration available at the State Department of Corrections website. Another way is to get information by contacting the relevant agency representative through phone, mail, or email.

How Do I Conduct an Inmate Search in Wisconsin?

The following steps are necessary to conduct an inmate search in Wisconsin:

  • Have ready the essential information needed to conduct a successful search. It includes the inmate’s name, the address of the facility, and the inmate identification number. Identification numbers are crucial because inmates can share the same names, but identification numbers are unique.
  • In-person visits: prepare to visit the incarceration facility by contacting the agency ahead of time. Be sure to have all the requirements that the agency demands. Interested individuals can do this either by calling ahead of time, emailing, or looking up necessary information at the relevant website.
  • Getting physical copies of records requires the submission of a written request. Incarceration records are free to access, but it is necessary to state clearly the purpose of the request. Also, individuals should note that there are terms and conditions under which the authorities will not release certain aspects of records. For local county jails, follow the instructions on their respective websites to get physical record copies of records. To request through the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, download and complete the Public Records Request form. Submit it to the respective incarceration facility along with the required fee or by email. Use the fee schedule to determine how much to pay for physical copies. Public record requests require an authorization form filled out and signed by the inmates. Submit it along with the public records request. For more information, call (608) 240 5000.
  • To search for an offender online, the following information is necessary:
    • First and last names, including aliases, if any;
    • Race, gender, year of birth, or age range;
    • City/village/town of the facility;
    • Zipcode range of county;
    • Department of Correction Identification Number.

Parties should specify if the individual is under active community supervision or incarceration. Go to the Inmate and Offender search tab on the Department of Corrections website. Having read the terms and agreements, click ‘I agree.’ It opens up to the offender search page.

How Can I Find an Inmate for Free in Wisconsin?

Electronic inmate records are accessible remotely on a computer device using an internet connection. Other than data charges that may apply, searches are free. Other options will require payment or the other, such as requesting physical records or paying for mail delivery to the incarceration facility.

How to Find Old Inmate Records in Wisconsin

Information about released inmates is accessible upon an in-person visit to the facility. Victims of these offenders usually get a notification of an inmate’s release as part of their rights to know. A data summary of released inmates is available on the department of corrections website. However, to get an old inmate record, visit the incarceration facility of interest, or email an inquiry to the Department of Corrections. The same rule applies to local jail facilities across the state.

How do I Find Inmate Death Records in Wisconsin?

Wisconsin does not use the death penalty as capital punishment for first-degree felonies. However, should an inmate die in custody for other reasons, the family members or next of kin get a notification of the development. The Office of Vital Statistics receives a notification and files a death certificate for the dead inmate. Such information is available upon an in-person visit or an email inquiry.

How do I Conduct a Federal Prison Inmate Search?

The Federal Bureau of Prisons maintains a nationwide database of persons held in federal prisons. Anyone can conduct a federal prison inmate search by visiting the agency website. Searches could be by name or number. An inquiry by the identification number yields a more accurate result since over one inmate can bear the same name. Identification numbers vary depending on which criminal investigation agency allocated the ID:

  • Bureau of Prisons
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • DC Department of Corrections
  • Immigration and Naturalization Service

Data on the federal inmate locator website dates back to 1982. It also includes persons released from prison since 1982.

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

The Department of Corrections in Wisconsin does not give a specific time frame when it updates information about newly incarcerated individuals. However, it states that the database gets updated periodically. To put it differently, the current status and information regarding an offender may not reflect readily on an inmate/ offender locator search. The most reliable way to receive updates is to directly contact the Department of Corrections: either in person, by mail, or by email. Most county jails update the online register daily. However, it is still important to contact the local jail supervisor for real-time updates.

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