Conduct a Free Michigan Inmate Search (Prison & Jail)

Free Michigan Inmate Search
Lookup jail and prison inmates in Michigan for free

Run a free Michigan inmate search quickly and conveniently to find individuals incarcerated within the state.

An inmate is incarcerated in either prison or jail after being arrested or convicted of a crime. This resource reveals how to find inmates, regardless of where they are incarcerated.

You can look up inmate information to learn about a friend, neighbor, loved one, or stranger. Regardless of the reason for your search, any citizen can access this information through Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act.

However, knowing how to access this information is important since the various government agencies that host it may have different ways of making inmate records available. This article will walk you through the process of looking up inmate details through various Michigan inmate record custodians.

This resource was written by Attorney Robert Bailey Jr, who holds a Juris Doctorate from Widener University School of Law.

What Is the Distinction Between Prison & Jail Inmates?

While many use the terms synonymously, there are important distinctions between a prison and a jail in Michigan. Michigan has both facilities, but they house inmates for different reasons. Before beginning your inmate search, it’s important to understand these distinctions.

Below is a summary of the differences between prisons and jails in Michigan.

Jail: A jail in Michigan houses inmates with a sentence of up to one year. They are also used to hold people who were arrested and are waiting to post bail or stand trial. Jails in Michigan are managed by the county sheriff’s office.

State Prison: Michigan prisons (run by the state’s Department of Corrections) hold individuals incarcerated for more serious crimes with a sentence of more than one year. Individuals in prison are often convicted of serious felonies such as murder, armed robbery, arson and other serious crimes.

Federal Prison: There are also federal prisons (managed by the Bureau of Prisons) in Michigan, where inmates are incarcerated for crimes committed that violate the U.S. Constitution or federal statutes. These offenses are separate from any crimes set forth in Michigan statutes.

How To Conduct a Michigan Jail Inmate Lookup (Free)

You must search at the county level if you are looking for jail information. Michigan does not have city jails.

There are city lock-ups to temporarily house people after an arrest, but inmate information is not readily available. When conducting an inmate search with a county jail in Michigan, it’s important to note that these facilities are the responsibility of the local sheriff’s office.

Each Michigan county jail may provide a different level of inmate information. In addition, the inmate information may be provided in different ways depending on the county.

For instance, some counties may have an online search tool, while others may require a formal request online or by mail. Sometimes, information can be gathered informally through a call or an in-person visit.

As guidance for conducting your own Michigan jail lookup, below are tools, resources and steps for looking up inmates in Wayne County. The Wayne County Sheriff’s Office supervises the county jail.1

You can search using their Wayne County Jail Search Tool to access inmate information. A citizen can use this tool to perform an inmate search by a person’s name, subject number or booking number.

A county sheriff's online inmate inquiry system, showing a search interface for filtering by name, booking number, and housing facility, along with a list of inmate names indicating their custody status and if they have multiple bookings.
Source: Wayne County Sheriff Inmate Inquiry2

In addition, you can narrow the scope of your search by selecting a booking date range or housing facility. You can also choose to only search inmates currently in custody.

Once you get your search results, you can view a list of names, custody status and whether the inmate has multiple bookings. From there, you can select an inmate you want to view more information on. Here, you can view descriptive information about the inmate as well as the following information:

  • Booking number
  • Booking date
  • Housing facility
  • Bond number and amount
  • Description of charges
  • Offense date
  • Docket number
  • Court date

If a case has already been resolved, you can also view the disposition, sentence date and length. For additional inmate information, you can contact any of the Wayne County jail divisions using the contact information below:

Jail Division 1
570 Clinton Street
Detroit, Michigan 48226


Jail Division 2
525 Clinton Street
Detroit, Michigan 48226


Jail Division 3
William Dickerson Detention Facility
3501 Hamtramck Drive
Hamtramck, Michigan 48211


You can use these additional criminal history resources for a list of every Michigan county jail and available online search tools for inmates.3

How To See Who Is Incarcerated in a State Prison (Michigan Inmate Search)

Inmates in Michigan state prison are managed by the state’s Department of Corrections (DOC).4

To perform a Michigan inmate lookup, a citizen can use their Offender Tracking Information System (OTIS) Search Tool. This search tool provides information about current inmates, probationers, parolees and those within three years of being under the Michigan DOC’s supervision.

This is a digital interface of the Michigan Department of Corrections displaying a list of active offenders, detailing their offender number, first name, date of birth, sex, race, correctional facility location, current status, parole board jurisdiction date, maximum sentence date, and date paroled, with a total of 1123 matches found for the search criteria.
Source: MDOC Department of Corrections5

To perform a search, you can enter either their name or Michigan DOC number. If performing a name search, you can also include an inmate’s sex, age, race and any marks, scars or tattoos. In addition, you can choose to search any of the below offender statuses:

  • Active Offenders
  • Prisoners
  • Parolees
  • Probationers
  • Discharged
  • Parole Absconders
  • Probation Absconders

Once you complete your search, you can view the following summary results for any matching offender:

  • Offender number
  • Name
  • Description (Date of birth, sex, race)
  • Michigan compiled law number
  • Location
  • Status
  • Parole Board jurisdiction date
  • Maximum sentence date
  • Date paroled (if applicable)

You can then click on the offender number of any inmate you want to view additional information about. Here, you can view, among other things, a person’s mugshot, detailed sentencing information and any specific information about probation or supervision.

For additional information on prison inmates, you can talk to someone at the Michigan DOC by calling them at 517-335-1426 or 517-335-1418.6 They are available for inquiries Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. You can also email them at [email protected] or by contacting them at the address below:

Michigan Department of Corrections
Grandview Plaza
206 East Michigan Avenue, P.O. Box 30003
Lansing, Michigan 48909

Here are some other helpful resources for additional inmate information from the Michigan Department of Corrections:

How To Track Down Details on Someone Held in Federal Prison

So far, we’ve discussed how to access inmate information for those incarcerated in either a state prison or county jail in Michigan. You may know that someone is incarcerated in prison, and yet you still have been unable to find them. If that’s the case, you may have to perform a federal inmate search.

People who commit a federal crime are housed in separate prisons operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). There are currently two federal prison facilities in Michigan. To search for federal inmates in Michigan and throughout the United States, you can use the BOP Inmate Search Tool.

Displaying a search tool interface for locating federal inmates with input fields for first, middle, and last name, alongside search results showing a limited list of inmates, with their register numbers, age, race, sex, release date, and location, indicating diverse demographic data and custody status.
Source: Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP)14

To use this online tool, you can search federal inmate information by entering a person’s identifying number (e.g., FBI, BOP etc.) or their name. When you perform a name-based search, you can also remove unnecessary search results by including the inmate’s race, age or sex.

The results page will provide a record seeker with the inmate’s name, description and register number. For past federal inmates, you can view the date they were released. For current inmates, you can view their scheduled release date and the federal facility they are currently incarcerated in.

If you have additional questions about federal inmate information, you can contact the BOP by phone at 202-307-3198 or by talking to someone at the address below:

Federal Bureau of Prisons
320 1st St., NW
Washington, DC 20534

The BOP inmate search tool is a great tool for any inmate who has been incarcerated from 1982 to the present. For federal inmates incarcerated on an earlier date, you have two options.

The first option is free and involves searching through records with the National Archives Records Administration (NARA). NARA provides a variety of digitized documents and prison indexes that can be used in your search for inmate information.

In addition to viewing these documents online, you can also go to one of NARA’s locations and make a request for copies. For any additional questions on accessing archived inmate records, you can call NARA at 866-272-6272.

The second option is a paid service using the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) Search Tool.15 This search tool allows you to search federal criminal cases for inmate information and other related data.

There are inmates located in Michigan prisons and jails as well as in federal facilities.

With the tools and guidance provided within this resource, you are now equipped to perform a Michigan inmate search for anyone incarcerated in this state.


1Wayne County Sheriff’s Office. (n.d.). Contact Us. Retrieved December 5, 2023, from <>

2Wayne County Sheriff’s Office. (n.d.). Inmate Inquiry. Retrieved December 5, 2023, from <>

3RecordsPage. (n.d.). Michigan Arrest and Criminal Records. Retrieved December 5, 2023, from <>

4Michigan Department of Corrections. (n.d.). Contact Us. Retrieved December 5, 2023, from <>

5Michigan Department of Corrections. (n.d.). Offender Tracking Information System (OTIS). Retrieved December 5, 2023, from <>

6Michigan Department of Corrections. (n.d.). Contact Us. Retrieved December 5, 2023, from <>

7Michigan Department of Corrections. (n.d.). Most Wanted. Retrieved December 5, 2023, from <>

8Michigan Department of Corrections. (n.d.). Prisons. Retrieved December 5, 2023, from <>

9Michigan Department of Corrections. (2022, November). Prison Location Map. Retrieved December 5, 2023, from <>

10Michigan Department of Corrections. (2023, June 23). In-Person Visiting. Retrieved December 5, 2023, from <>

11Michigan Department of Corrections. (n.d.). Public Information. Retrieved December 5, 2023, from <>

12Michigan Department of Corrections. (n.d.). Parole & Probation. Retrieved December 5, 2023, from <>

13Michigan Department of Corrections. (2023, October 18). Victim Services. Retrieved December 5, 2023, from <>

14Federal Bureau of Prisons. (n.d.). Inmate Locator. Retrieved December 5, 2023, from <>

15PACER. (n.d.). Public Access to Court Electronic Records. Retrieved December 5, 2023, from <>