West Virginia Court Records
Where to Find West Virginia Inmate Records
In West Virginia, an offender convicted and incarcerated by the judiciary will his/her inmate records maintained by the jail or prison. If the person had spent time in the county jail, the record custodian is the Sheriff’s Office or the jail administrator. The West Virginia Division of Correction and Rehabilitation (WVDOC) manages state prisons. The division also acts as the central repository for records on local and state inmates. However, the state agency custody of inmate records does not extend to inmates incarcerated in federal correctional facilities across the state. The Federal Bureau of Prisons maintains records on this class of inmates.
Are Incarceration Records Public Information in West Virginia?
Yes. State and federal laws mandate that record custodians make inmate records available to the public unless such records contain sensitive information.
Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching more straightforward, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:
- The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
- The location or assumed location of the document or person involved
Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party websites may vary.
What Information is Contained in a West Virginia Inmate Record?
A typical inmate record in West Virginia furnishes the viewer with the following information:
- Full legal name
- Physical description (height, weight, body marks)
- Inmate ID number
- Offense Information
- Sentence information
- Facility of incarceration
- Inmate status
Where do I Look Up an Inmate in West Virginia?
Generally, the three ways to find an inmate in Nebraska are:
- Online search
- In-person requests
- Mail request
How Do I Conduct an Inmate Search in West Virginia?
- In-person requests:
Here, the requester must know the penitentiary that has custody of the inmate in West Virginia. With such detail, he/she can go on to contact or schedule a visit to the facility to obtain inmate records. The contact information of local jails is typically available on the Sheriff’s website, and the contact information of state correctional facilities is in this directory.
- Mail requests:
The West Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) empowers interested persons to request detailed records on inmates. FOIA requests only apply to records that are not sealed by statutory exemption or court order.
To submit an FOIA request for inmate records, write a request to the record custodian citing the West Virginia FOIA. Furthermore, the request must detail the requester’s contact information and detailed descriptions of the records sought. The requester must then attach a check or money order for applicable fees and enclose the request in a self-addressed stamped envelope. Address requests to:
1409 Greenbrier Street
Charleston, WV 25311
Generally, the DOC charges a nominal fee of $0.30 per page of record copied and $10.00 for a digital copy. If the requester requires certification of a record or if the request is extensive, then other charges may apply. Thus, it is best practice to contact the Division of Corrections to estimate applicable fees before sending a request.
The official resource for local jails is the inmate roster on the Sheriff’s website—although some jails have dedicated websites. For example, Ada County Sheriff maintains a jail roster and Bonneville County Sheriff regularly updates an inmate list.
When finding several inmates in different counties, or if unsure of the facility of incarceration, use the Division of Corrections Offender Search. The central repository pools inmate information from county jails and state prisons. To use the Offender Search, the individual must query the database with the inmate’s full name or I. D. Similarly, the West Virginia Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority let the public use Inmate Search to find inmates in the state’s regional jails.
It is common for all of these tools to have multiple results, especially when the finder uses names as search parameters. Clicking more info will help confirm a search with the booking photograph of the inmate.
How Can I Find an Inmate for Free in West Virginia?
Apply for a fee waiver from the record custodian. This application has better chances of success if providing free access to the record serves the public best interests, and the requester needs it for non-commercial purposes. Otherwise, the requester must bear the cost of searching, reproducing, and certifying the inmate record requested.
How to Find Old Inmate Records in West Virginia
Records on recently released inmates are available from the Department of Corrections. The Department also provides a means for the public to check for escapees and absconders. For older inmate records, search the National Archives using the surname of the inmate.
How do I Find Inmate Death Records in West Virginia?
Send an FOIA request to the Department of Corrections following the instructions explained earlier for finding inmate records by mail. The Department shall only provide copies of non-confidential and non-sensitive records related to the death of the inmate. Similarly, eligible persons may request a death record from the Department of Health.
How do I Conduct a Federal Prison Inmate Search?
Federal prisons are responsible for holding offenders convicted of federal crimes. Depending on the severity of the crime, the state holds offenders in minimum or maximum-security facilities. All federal prisons in West Virginia are under the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). To find an inmate at the prison, use the BOP Inmate locator. BOP allows searchers to find information on inmates incarcerated as far back as 1982. To achieve this, the searcher may use the offender’s unique BOP number or full name.
Furthermore, providing additional information such as race, age, and sex helps narrow down the search from thousands of results. Bear in mind that records on inmates incarcerated before 1982 are only available on the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) website. There, the searcher will have access to a database of inmate information from 1870 to 1981.
How Long Does it Take For An Inmate’s Information to Be Published in West Virginia Inmate Locator?
Very quickly. The Department of Corrections maintains a separate log for newly incarcerated inmates in West Virginia. This log changes every day, and as soon as jail staff book the inmate into the system.