Computerized information on the Incarcerated Lookup is generally available 24 hours a day except for a 15-minute interval every night beginning at approximately 11:45 pm (Eastern Standard Time). This brief outage allows for necessary maintenance activities. In addition, the Incarcerated Lookup is unavailable from 11:30 pm Saturday to approximately 12:30 am Sunday (Eastern Standard Time) due to scheduled server maintenance.
NOTE: Executive Law Section 296(15) and Correction Law Section 752 in pertinent part provides that no application for any license or employment shall be denied by reason of the applicant's having previously been convicted of one or more criminal offenses unless:
- There is a direct relationship between one or more of the previous criminal offenses and the specific license or employment sought; or
- The issuance of the license or the granting of the employment would involve an unreasonable risk to property or to the safety or welfare of specific individuals or the general public.
This Lookup is intended to provide interested parties with information on the status and location of individuals incarcerated in a New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) facility. Information is also provided on formerly incarcerated individuals primarily so searches for individuals released provide positive results regarding when and why they were released.
The information returned contains items of information that have traditionally been available by telephone and mail. This Lookup has been implemented to minimize the effort to request information and to respond to those requests. The information returned in response to an inquiry is the most up-to-date information available. It is extracted from the Department's main information database about the incarcerated individual and placed on the webpage at the moment of the request.
Department Identification Number
The most direct way to find an individual is by using the Department Identification Number (DIN). The DIN is a number assigned to each individual admitted to DOCCS. The same DIN is used throughout individuals' terms of commitment no matter where they are housed. In general, a term of commitment runs until the individual is no longer obligated to serve prison time or is under community supervision. After that, should they be committed to a new prison term, they would be assigned a new DIN.
It is also possible to Lookup individuals by name. However, this will often involve reviewing lists of many individuals who are or have been incarcerated at DOCCS who have similar names to find the particular individual you are seeking.
There are two ways to find someone by name: Exact last name with year of birth and/or partial/full last name.
Exact last name with year of birth
If you know about how old the individual is or the year of birth, this can narrow the search. Be aware though that using the year of birth is based on an exact match with the individual's last name. In other words, you must know the exact spelling of their last name. The name list returned will include only those individuals whose last names is are spelled exactly the way it was entered in the last name search field, and who were born during or later than the birth year entered (only those of a certain age or younger).
Partial/full last name
In contrast, when the year of birth is not used, you may enter only the part of the last name that you know (or believe you know) for certain. The name lists that are returned will include individuals whose last names begin with the full or partial last name you submitted. If that search doesn't yield any results, you should try variations of spellings for that name.
For both types of name Lookups, the first and middle names are used only for the initial positioning of the name list. In other words, the first and middle names are used only to skip to that point in the list for the very first Lookup. Thereafter, all individuals with matching partial/full last names are returned in the list no matter their first and middle names.
Experimentation with entering information in some or all of the search fields and varying the amount of information provided in the search fields, such as partial names, will often lead to better results.
Obtaining A DIN
If you do not have the individual's DIN, you can use the name search capability to find it. In the future, using the DIN is a more direct and effective way to retrieve information about individuals incarcerated in DOCCS.
If you have difficulty finding an incarcerated individual, you may call DOCCS Central Files at 518-457-5000 for assistance.
New York State Identification (NYSID)
The New York State Identification (NYSID) is intended for criminal justice agencies only. However, if you should know an incarcerated individual's NYSID, you will not be prevented from accessing records by using it. The NYSID information is not available on this Lookup.
Who's Listed in the Lookup
Individuals confined in state prison since the early 1970s are listed in the database, except youthful offenders, individuals who have had their convictions set aside by a court, and certain previously incarcerated non-violent offenders covered by a special provision codified in Correction Law §9, which took effect in 2010.
Except for data such as youthful offender records that are specifically made confidential under Criminal Procedure Law §720.35, all convictions, sentences and other information about offenders currently and previously incarcerated with DOCCS is considered public information under the Freedom of Information Law and is, therefore, accessible.
Correction Law §752 and Executive Law §296(15) prohibit discrimination in hiring or for issuing of any license by reason of prior criminal conviction unless:
- there is a direct relationship between the previous criminal offense(s) and the specific license or employment sought; or
- issuing the license or granting employment would involve an unreasonable risk to property or to the safety or welfare of specific individuals or the general public.
Individuals who have had their convictions reversed, pursuant to Criminal Procedure Law §160.50, have all official records sealed and, accordingly, DOCCS deletes such information from this database.
Correction Law §9
Correction Law § 9, “Access to inmate information via the internet,” requires DOCCS to remove from its website information for a limited class of non-violent offenders five years after they complete their maximum term of imprisonment, or five years after they complete their term of parole or post-release supervision. Prior incarceration information that was removed will be restored for offenders who return to prison.
This statute does not apply to individuals:
- ineligible to earn Merit Time as set forth in Correction Law § 803(1)(d), namely those convicted of a violent felony offense, a sex offense or certain other A-1 felony offenses other than drugs; or
- who committed an offense covered by the Sex Offender Registration Act as set forth in Correction Law § 168-a, including certain prostitution, obscenity and sexually motivated offenses.
These offenders will remain on the website indefinitely.
Since this statute applies to individuals who have already been released from prison, information previously found on this website may no longer be available. If an individual is subsequently returned to DOCCS custody, the information that was previously removed will reappear on this website.
The names of youthful offenders committed to the Department are not maintained as part of this database because Criminal Procedure Law §720.35 protects them from the long-term effects of a criminal record by treating their records as confidential.
A youthful offender can be between the ages of 16 and 18 at the time the offense was committed. The longest prison sentence a youthful offender can receive is 1-1/3 to 4 years.
The law further provides that a youthful offender adjudication is not a judgment of conviction for a crime or any other offense.
The law also requires that all official youthful offender records and papers are confidential and may not be made available to any person or public or private agency other than the institution to which a youthful offender has been committed.