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4 Ways to Find Out if Someone You Know Has Been in Jail

discovering someone’s jail record

discovering someone’s jail record

Determining whether someone has served jail time is an important part of keeping yourself safe, especially if you’re planning to spend time with that person in the future. Whether it’s a neighbor, a potential romantic partner, or just someone you’ve met recently, you need to know this person’s safe to be around.

However, it’s not as easy as merely asking. Some honest people might tell you whether they’ve been arrested in the past, especially if it was for a minor charge. But people with violent criminal backgrounds might not disclose that information freely. That could put you in danger if the individual still has those violent tendencies. Instead of taking someone at his or her word, you can take steps to check criminal history yourself.

Check the Local News

Checking news sources usually only works if the person in question has done something particularly bad, and done it in your area. If both of those things are true, however, then this is a great way to check. Although most headlines will only use the words “local man” or similar phrasing, they’ll often publish the name of the individual in the article somewhere. Search some of the biggest local news stations to see whether they’ve published anything.

Ask His or Her Friends

Are you currently in touch with this individual’s existing friend group? Talking to such people can be a great way to get some background info, as well as some info on his or her overall character. If you get an uncomfortable or downright dangerous feeling from those friends, it’s a good idea to separate yourself from the person as quickly as possible.

People tend to surround themselves with a friend group that reflects who they are. By paying attention to that, you can save yourself a lot of trouble. You can also find out whether the person has served any jail time. It’s much harder to hide that information from multiple people than it is to keep it from just one, and the likelihood that an entire group would lie for someone is slim.

Pull Public Records

State records are technically free to access. If you want to take the time to go to the county sheriff’s office or court recorder’s office to pull the jail records directly from, you can do so. The Freedom of Information Act allows the public access certain records kept by the state or county.

However, if you do decide to use this route, it’s important to remember that you may need to pay a filing fee or other access fees to receive the records. You can find that fee information by using your county or state website, or by calling ahead.

Use a Public Search Engine

Sometimes, there’s no way to find information about someone by talking to friends and checking news sources. Pulling public records is time-consuming, difficult, and may even end up costing you a surprising amount of money. Whether you’ve exhausted all your resources–or you want to use the simplest tactic from the beginning–use a public records search engine such as PeopleFinders to access someone’s criminal records quickly and easily.

With an online search, you can get immediate access to information about millions of U.S. adults. It only takes a minute or two to perform a criminal records search and try to find out whether someone you just met was ever in jail. From arrest records to sex offender data, you can try and get the scoop on someone’s past. Enter the person’s first name, last name, city and state, and brace yourself.


Safety is an important part of everyday life, and you should be on the lookout for anything that could place you in danger. That doesn’t mean you have to be paranoid; it just means that your day-to-day life should include looking out for yourself, especially when it comes to people you’ve just met.

PeopleFinders offers the easiest solution to that problem. Use the tools at PeopleFinders (and the information on the blog) to stay safe in your daily life, regardless of whether you’re checking on your neighbors casually, or you’re doing some research on someone that worries you.

Image attribution: Skyward Kick Prod – stock.adobe.com



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