What Prison Records are Public Information?

What Prison Records are Public Information?

When you go to prison, your privacy rights shrink almost immediately. You don’t have as much privacy in the bathroom or the shower. You don’t have as much privacy where you sleep and live. And you also don’t have as much privacy when it comes to information about you. This is because parts of your prison record are public information.

What parts of your prison record is public information?

If you go to prison, you should know it’s easy to find information about your prison record and your court case. A simple Google search for “bop inmate search” gives anyone access. The first link on Google is to the BOP’s “Find an inmate.” page. If someone knows your name or BOP number, they can find you. If they search you, they can find your facility at and your expected release date. They can also find your age, your race and your gender.

Even more information is available for most state prisons. For instance, imagine you’re in a state prison in Michigan. The public can find a lot, including personal details like your height and weight. But they can also find your security level, aliases and active and inactive sentences. This means that the public can find out exactly what crimes sent you to prison.

Information about your sentence and criminal history may also be on social media. And news outlets may also put it on their websites. If a news outlet covered your criminal case, there are likely details about it online. These details may be on their websites and their social media accounts. People, including the victim of your crime or crimes, can also post comments about you and your case on these, too.

What parts of your prison record might not be public information?

Quite a bit of information about you and your case is available to the public. However, there is some information from your prison record that is harder to find. For instance, the BOP system does allow you to see an incarcerated person’s security level. It does not, however, include details about in-prison misconduct is not available online. That is true for most state prisons as well.

Many state prisons’ websites also say what crime or crimes you have. But many don’t give specific details about them. For example, someone might know that you committed assault. They may also know that a court sentenced you to 18 months in prison. But they won’t know who you assaulted, what the specific act was and other details. And, after your release, it’s possible to have these records expunged or sealed.

Some of your prison records are information that the general public can find.
Image courtesy of Magnet.me via Unsplash.

Is there anything you can do to make your information private?

There is not much you can do to keep this information private. It is unlikely that the BOP or state prison will remove this type of information from their websites. It is possible that these agencies might be willing to do something if you or your family is in danger. But those situations are rare.

The Takeaway:

When you go to prison, you lose a lot of privacy that you had before. This is true when it comes to things like going to the bathroom and sleeping. But it’s also true when it comes to your information. The public will be able to find out information about your prison record.

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