Illinois Inmate Search

Illinois Inmate Search

Illinois State Records has a mission to promote the right of people to access, review, and copy public records, following the principles set in place by the Illinois Freedom of Information Act. The act provides that all records, documents, and data generated by a government or law enforcement agency are deemed to be public and accessible to all U.S. citizens. For public inmate records, it includes details on sentencing, such as the type and class of conviction, mugshot, the county in which the case was tried, and the location of the prisoner holding facility.

How do I find an inmate in Illinois?

Illinois inmate search can be done through the Inmate Search page on the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) website. This search tool gives users three options for locating an inmate in state prison, either by providing the inmate’s last name, IDOC number, or birthdate.

If the detainee is in federal prison, individuals can locate an inmate by going to the Find an inmate page on the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) website.

For a detainee in county jail, individuals will need to check on the county Sheriff’s Office for an online inmate locator feature on their website, or finding an inmate roster by the county’s.

Where are Illinois inmates housed?

State of Illinois inmates is housed based on the assessment done by the Illinois Department of Corrections. There are nine categories of facilities in which an inmate can be housed. These categories will consist of several facilities under the jurisdiction of IDOC. The following are the classification of the facility run by IDOC:

Adult Transition Centers

Boot Camps

Correctional Facilities

Life Skills Re-Entry Centers

Multi-Security Multi-Disciplinary Treatment

Reception and Classification Centers

Secured Mental Health Inpatient Treatment

Women Facilities

Work Camps

County Jails in Illinois

On top of housing pre-trial inmates, county jails also serve as a short-term post-conviction jail facility for detainees who have been sentenced or earned short jail terms for misdemeanor offenses. In general, Illinois county jails will house inmates who have earned sentences less than a year in length, although certain offenders with longer sentences may be held in county jail facilities to engage in work programs. Among the 92 county jails in Illinois, the top three jails based on inmate populations are:

Cook County Jail

With a size of 96 acres, Cook County jails are one of the largest county jails in the United States and are currently supervised by Sheriff Thomas J. Dart. Due to its massive size, the county jail is divided into 13 divisions (10 housing divisions, 3 special service divisions) throughout Cook County. The jail can house up to 10,000 inmates and has a daily average inmate population of 9,000 people.

Winnebago County Jail

For a county-level detention facility, the Winnebago County Jail is comparatively large. However, the massive size of the jail was constructed based on the growth estimation for the county as well as the arrest trend presented. Currently, the daily average inmate population is around 720 inmates, with a maximum capacity of 1324 people.

Will County Jail

The county jail facility of Will County is known as the Will County Adult Detention Facility. This jail is among the 3% of all local jails nationwide that received recognition as an exemplary jail for complying with 385 nationally accepted standards for adult local detention facilities. Currently, the jail houses a daily average of 650 inmates out of a 1,000 inmates capacity.

How do you contact an inmate in Illinois?


Generally, all inmates in Illinois prisons are allowed to receive and send mail to friends, family, or outside individuals during their serving time. The IDOC has put out several guidelines on how to write or correspond with an inmate housed in Illinois prisons. All letters going in and out of the facility will be opened, inspected, and read for safety reasons, such as the smuggling of contraband through mails. The letter and envelope should be plain and white, with no decorative stickers. When sending a letter to an inmate, the sender needs to include the full name, and IDOC number, and facility of prisoners on the envelope address.

Electronic Message

This service is only available to certain pilot sites; therefore, it is advisable to inquire about the inmate’s facility beforehand. Similar to physical letters, all messages will be screened and monitored accordingly for safety reasons. However, unlike physical mails, electronic messages are only a one-way service, hence inmates will not be able to send any electronic messages. Further information about electronic messages can be read on the IDOC page.


Alternatively, an inmate can contact an individual outside of the prisons using phone call services. In order for an individual to receive collect calls from an inmate, the prisoners will be responsible to request an individual to be added to their calling list. The service provider for used by IDOC is Securus, therefore individuals who wish to receive collect calls from inmates should firstly set up a prepaid account or a direct billing account. Further information can be obtained by contacting Securus directly by dialing 1-800-844-6591 or by visiting their website.

How to contact the Illinois Department of Corrections?

There are three ways of contacting the Illinois Department of Corrections:

Contact by phone

Illinois Department of Corrections phone number: 217-558-2200 or 217-558-2008

Contact by mail

Illinois Department of Corrections addresses:


Illinois Department of Corrections

1301 Concordia Court

P.O. Box 19277

Springfield, IL 62794-9277


Illinois Department of Corrections

James R. Thompson Center

100 West Randolph

Chicago, IL 60601

Contact by e-mail

The Department of Correction of Illinois provides a contact form on their website if individuals are interested to contact them via email.

How do you find out the release date of an inmate in Illinois?

Crime victims and concerned citizens can register to receive notifications on an offender’s custody status through the VineLink services. This service offers all-time information about an inmate’s custody and case status. People who registered for VineLink will receive automated notification of any change in status directly to their phone.

Registration can be done on the VineLink website, as well as through the Victim Service Unit toll-free at 877-776-0755 or 217-558-2200.

Individuals can also obtain inmate release date information by going to the Offender Locator page and searching for the inmate records. If information is not yet available, an individual can directly send a record request to the inmate’s facility.

Can I send a care package to an inmate in Illinois?

Care packages sent directly by friends and family are strictly prohibited unless given permission (e.g. medicine, etc.). However, certain facilities have contracts with third-party vendors to send care packages consisting of pre-approved items by IDOC. Similarly, inmates can buy their additional items through the commissary given that they have money in their fund account. For information about third-party vendors, interested individuals are required to contact the facility of interest.

What can you send inmates in Illinois prisons?

Send mail to inmates in Illinois

Inmates are allowed to receive mails as a method of keeping in touch with families or friends outside of their facility. There is no limit on how many emails an inmate can receive or send. Nonetheless, the sender will be required to follow the given guidelines prepared by IDOC to prevent the mail from being rejected.

Send books/publications to inmates in Illinois

Individuals are allowed to send books to an inmate in Illinois prison, however, the individual will need to follow the guidelines given:

  1. Inmates can receive publications either from an approved vendor, friends, or family (only five books per visit).
  2. Books sent/ordered cannot be hardcover books.
  3. Publications material must not possess a threat to the security of the facility (must not contain maps, incite hatred of any religion or race, demonstrate how to create weapons or explosive devices, etc.)
  4. The institutional Publication Review Committee will be responsible for reviewing all publications that are not on the approved list and will reject materials that do not meet the criteria.
  5. Books containing sexually explicit materials are prohibited.

Send money to inmates in Illinois

Incarcerated inmates have their own fund account in prisons, the money going into the account can be used by inmates to buy additional necessities sold in the commissary. There are several ways on how family or friends can send inmate money:


For a small fee, walk deposits can be done through several services at various location throughout the state, such as:

  1. Money Gram (using receive code 7364)
  2. Western Union (Code City ILDOC and state IL)


An individual can use the JPay service to deposit money to an inmate’s account online. Aside from that, WesternUnion also offers this service given that individuals know the Code City ILDOC and state IL.

For detainees held in Big Muddy River, Decatur, Menard, Vandalia, or Vienna, individuals have an alternative option of using GTL services to send money to an inmate.

Phone call

People can deposit funds into an inmate’s account by calling JPay’s contact number at 1-800-574-5729. The line will be connected to a live agent who will help individuals step-by-step.


The cheapest method of depositing money into an inmate’s account is by using money order through the mail using US Postal Money Order, paid using JPay. The individual will need to include the inmate name and ID number in the memo field, along with a completed Money Order Deposit Form before sending to:


P.O. Box 260250

Hollywood, FL 33026

How do I apply for Visitation of an inmate in Illinois?

To be allowed a visit, all guests, except government officials and legal visitors, must be on the offender’s approved visitation list. Offenders have to schedule their visits and inform their guests of their visiting status. To verify if you are on the visitor list of the offender, you can write a letter to the offender to inquire.

Adult visitors (aged 18 and older), except legal visitors and government officials, will be expected to complete a Prospective Visitor Interview (PVI) form called DOC 0148, on their first visit to the correctional facility. You can find this PVI form on the Forms page of the website, and it can be completed on the first visit and carried in.

Video Visitation

Through the partnership of DOC and GTL, Illinois correctional facilities now are able to support video visitation services. The interested individual need to register with GTL, which will require them to complete the PVI form on GTL even if the individual has filled the form with the facility before. All video visitation will be scheduled through GTL websites, therefore calling the facility for the schedule would be useless.

What are the Visitation rules?

Illinois Department of Corrections has prepared a Visitation Rules for those who have been approved for inmate visitation. Before visiting, visitors need to read and comply with the rules to ensure the visitation runs smoothly. Depending on the facility and security level, there will be a difference in visitor hours, rules, and policies. The daily visiting hours of any facility are listed under the Facilities section on the IDOC website. Both visitation-related rules and regulations are posted and made accessible to guests at each facility. If there is any concern regarding the hours and visiting policy of a specific facility, individuals may contact the facility directly.