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Iowa Inmate Search

The Iowa Inmate Search is a valuable resource or online tool allowing individuals to access information about incarcerated inmates. By performing an inmate search in Iowa, individuals can access a wide range of information about inmates.

The search tool includes information such as the inmate's full name, booking date, release date, current location within the correctional facility, and any pending charges against them. The information from this online database is significant to the public.

For victims of crimes, this resource can help them keep track of the status of their case, ensuring that they remain informed and aware of any developments related to the offender. Families of inmates can also utilize the search to stay updated on the whereabouts of their incarcerated loved ones, offering a sense of reassurance and peace of mind.

Moreover, the inmate search system in Iowa contributes to public safety. Accessing information about inmates' charges and convictions aids in making informed decisions regarding personal safety and understanding the risks associated with specific individuals. It empowers individuals and communities to take appropriate precautions, fostering a safer environment for all.

Despite its significance, Iowa's inmate search tool has some limitations.

One notable limitation is the potential for outdated or incomplete information. Due to the dynamic nature of the criminal justice system, details regarding an inmate's status or pending charges may change frequently.

While efforts are made to maintain an accurate database, delays in updating the information can occur, which may result in discrepancies. Therefore, users must exercise caution and cross-reference the provided information with official sources when necessary.

Furthermore, it only provides information about inmates in state prisons and community correctional facilities. It cannot include information on inmates in other correctional facilities in the state, such as county jails and juvenile centers.

What Are Iowa Inmate Records?

Iowa Inmate Records encompass a range of documents and data about individuals incarcerated within the state's correctional facilities. They serve as an official repository of an individual's journey within the Iowa penal system.

Unlike the Iowa Inmate Search tool, which provides only basic information about the inmate, Iowa Inmate Records offer much more comprehensive data about the inmate, which typically  includes the following information:

  • Inmate's full name
  • Any known aliases used by the inmate
  • Birth date
  • Gender
  • Race
  • The inmate's physical characteristic description
  • Arrest history, including dates, locations, and charges
  • Conviction records, including the date of commission and the type of offense committed
  • Information about the inmate's court appearances
  • The specific sentence imposed on the inmate
  • Inmate's current status, such as whether they are in custody, released, on parole, or on probation
  • Documentation related to the inmate's behavior, disciplinary actions, medical history, and educational or vocational programs

In Iowa, the law that governs the public availability of inmate records is the Iowa Open Records Law. However, sensitive data like inmates' mental health records, pretrial information, and presentence investigation reports are not open to the public.

To acquire Iowa Inmate Records, individuals can follow a general process to facilitate access while maintaining necessary security protocols. The first step typically involves identifying the correct custodian of the documents, often the Iowa Department of Corrections (IDOC) or the specific correctional facility that incarcerated the inmate.

After identifying the custodian, individuals can submit a formal request for the inmate records, adhering to any guidelines or forms required by the custodian. This process may involve providing details about the inmate, such as their full name, identification number, and the purpose of the request.

Depending on the custodian's policies, the records may be accessible in person, via mail, or online.

What Are Iowa Prison and Jail Records?

Iowa Prison and Jail Records refer to the collection of statistical data and information related to the correctional facilities in the state. These records provide valuable insights into the inmate population, incarceration rates, demographics, and other relevant statistics.

The latest Iowa Prison and Jail Records show that Iowa's incarceration rate of 582 per 100,000 residents is slightly below the national average of 664. However, this rate positions the state just above countries such as El Salvador, which is considered one of the most dangerous nations in the world.

The number of individuals incarcerated in Iowa has reached unprecedented levels, primarily due to drug charges and related offenses. The annual report released by the IDOC reveals that opioid use, as well as the dealing and trafficking of methamphetamines, play significant roles in the continuous rise of the state's prison population.

Furthermore, property-related offenses constitute another significant factor contributing to the high incarceration rates in Iowa. When examining the distribution of crimes, violent offenses fall between these two categories, while public offenses account for a minor proportion of inmates in the state.

The gender disparity among prison inmates in Iowa is striking, with males comprising 91% of the total population, leaving only a 9% representation for females.

What Are the Types of Prisons and Jails in Iowa?

To perform Iowa Inmate Search efficiently, familiarizing oneself with the various types of correctional facilities in the state is essential. Iowa's criminal justice system consists of four main facilities: state prisons, community correctional facilities, county jails, and juvenile detention centers.

Note that there are no federal prisons in Iowa. Thus, running a federal inmate search in the state is impossible.

Here's a brief overview of each facility type, including their purposes, the types of inmates they house, the programs and services they provide, and the current number of facilities:

Iowa State Prisons

Iowa state prisons are correctional facilities operated by the IDOC. The IDOC manages and oversees these prisons' daily operations, ensuring the inmates' and staff members' safety and security.

These state prisons accommodate a diverse range of inmates, including individuals convicted of felonies and serving sentences exceeding one year.

In addition to general population inmates, these facilities house inmates with specialized needs, such as those requiring medical or mental health services. The prisons also provide separate housing units for inmates with maximum security requirements.

To promote inmate rehabilitation and reduce recidivism, the state prisons in Iowa offer a variety of programs and services. Educational opportunities are provided to help inmates earn high school diplomas or equivalent qualifications.

Vocational training programs enable inmates to acquire valuable skills in areas such as carpentry, plumbing, and automotive repair, enhancing their chances of finding employment upon release.

Furthermore, Iowa state prisons facilitate substance abuse treatment programs, counseling services, and mental health support to address the underlying issues contributing to criminal behavior. Inmates may participate in therapeutic activities, including individual and group therapy sessions, to aid their rehabilitation and reintegration into society.

As of 2023, Iowa has nine state prisons. To obtain a list of these state prisons and their relevant information, visit the "Iowa DOC Community and Correctional Facilities" page on the IDOC website. Upon reaching the page, scroll down until the "Correctional Facilities" section is displayed. Thereon, the nine state prisons are listed.

To access relevant details about a specific facility, individuals can click on the desired facility from the provided list.

Iowa Community Correctional Facilities

Iowa community correctional facilities, also operated by the IDOC, serve as alternative sentencing options for individuals involved in the criminal justice system. These facilities actively provide supervision, treatment, and programming to individuals convicted of crimes but are considered lower-risk offenders.

Community correctional facilities aim to promote rehabilitation and reintegration into society by offering a structured environment that addresses the underlying causes of criminal behavior. They actively engage individuals in various programs, such as counseling, substance abuse treatment, educational and vocational training, and employment assistance.

These facilities work closely with probation and parole officers and other community-based organizations to ensure a comprehensive approach to offender supervision and support.

As of 2023, the IDOC operates dozens of community correctional facilities in eight judicial districts of Iowa. To obtain a complete list of these facilities and their relevant information, visit the "Iowa DOC Community and Correctional Facilities" page on the IDOC website.

Upon reaching the page, scroll down until the "Community Based Corrections Districts" section is displayed. Thereon, click the judicial district in question to see the list of community correctional facilities and other relevant information about that corrections district.

Iowa County Jails

Iowa county jails are detention facilities located within various counties in the state. They serve as temporary holding places for individuals arrested or awaiting trial for alleged criminal offenses. In addition, county jails in Iowa detain individuals who received sentences of less than one year in jail.

The county jails in Iowa provide essential services such as housing, meals, medical care, and visitation opportunities while ensuring the safety and security of the inmates and the surrounding community.

The county governments operate county jails in Iowa, typically the county Sheriff's Office. They oversee the county jails' staffing, administration, and overall functioning.

As of 2023, Iowa consists of 99 counties, each with its own jail or detention center, leading to a presumed total of 99 county jails in the state. It should be noted, however, that certain Sheriff's Offices may oversee multiple local jails.

To obtain an accurate and current list of county or local jails in Iowa along with their contact details, individuals can contact the Iowa State Sheriffs' and Deputies' Association (ISSDA).

Alternatively, they can use the ISSDA Sheriff Directory on the association's website to contact the appropriate Sheriff's Office and inquire about their current jails.

Iowa Juvenile Detention Centers

Iowa juvenile detention centers are facilities designed to house and rehabilitate underage individuals involved in criminal activities. These centers detain minors while awaiting court proceedings or serving their sentences.

They provide a secure and structured environment where juveniles receive educational, vocational, and therapeutic programs to address their behavioral issues and reintegrate them into society.

The Iowa Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) operates juvenile centers in the state. It oversees the management and administration of these facilities in collaboration with county-level adolescent court service.

As of 2023, the DHHS only operates a single juvenile detention center known as the Iowa State Training School. This residential facility exclusively accommodates male individuals and strongly emphasizes the rehabilitation and education of young offenders.

With stringent supervision, the center detains males aged 12 to 18 until they fulfill their court-ordered sentences.

Regarding female juvenile offenders, Iowa has the Girls State Training School or the Iowa Juvenile Home in Toledo before. But authorities closed this detention center after the reported incidents of abuse and mismanagement. Since then, female youth offenders have been transferred to a facility in Wisconsin, located outside the state.

How To Perform Inmate Search in Iowa

Performing an Iowa Inmate Search is possible through the "Search Offenders" tool of the IDOC. The developed system by the IDOC enables individuals to locate inmates within state prisons and community correctional facilities.

The inmate's name is the primary information required to initiate the search when utilizing this tool. However, additional optional fields are available to help refine and narrow down the search results. Users can specify a birthdate range, offender ID number, gender, offense, location, or county associated with the inmate they are searching for.

After inputting the relevant information, users must click the "Search" button to initiate the search. Within moments, the tool will display search results, providing a list of inmates that match the specified criteria. Each entry in the list includes the inmate's name, offender ID number, birth date, and gender.

Users can simply click on the corresponding name in any row of the search results to access more detailed information about a specific inmate.

Finding an inmate in a county jail is different from the IDOC-operated facilities. Individuals must contact the local county Sheriff's Office to perform an Iowa jail inmate search. Some Sheriff's Offices, like Polk County Sheriff's Office, have an inmate search feature on their websites, simplifying the process of locating someone in an Iowa jail.

Other offices, like Johnson County Sheriff's Office, maintain an inmate roster that one can rely on to retrieve inmate information in county jails.

Lastly, searching for inmates in juvenile detention centers online is impossible since juvenile records are private under state law. However, individuals such as family members, friends, and other authorized personnel can inquire about an inmate in the Iowa State School by directly contacting the school administration.

How To Contact an Inmate in Iowa

Several methods are available when contacting an inmate in an IDOC facility, including the Offender Telephone Service, traditional mail, and O-mail (Offender Email). These channels provide communication options for individuals outside the correctional facilities who wish to stay connected with their incarcerated loved ones.

Offender Telephone Service

The Offender Telephone Service is a commonly used means of communication for inmates in Iowa. This service allows inmates to make outgoing calls to approved phone numbers.

Friends and family members can receive calls from inmates by setting up an account with the phone service provider authorized by the IDOC. To initiate contact, individuals must fill out the pre-paid service form and provide the necessary information, such as the inmate's name, identification number, and facility location, verified through the Iowa Inmate Search tool.

Once individuals set up the account and deposit funds, they can receive calls at the designated phone number, enabling them to maintain regular contact with inmates.

Traditional Mail

Traditional mail remains a reliable and widely used method of communication with inmates in Iowa. Individuals must adhere to the established guidelines the IDOC sets to send letters or packages. Include the inmate's full name, identification number, and the correct address of the facility that currently houses the inmate.

Furthermore, each IDOC facility has an assigned unique mailing code. When writing to an incarcerated individual, reference the mailing code to ensure that the correct facility receives the mail.

Prison staff typically opens and inspects all incoming mail for security purposes. Therefore, refrain from sending prohibited items, such as weapons, drugs, or explicit content.

Offender Email (O-mail) Service

Lastly, email has emerged as a convenient and efficient method of communication for inmates in Iowa. The IDOC has implemented the O-mail (Offender Email) service that allows individuals to send inmates electronic messages.

To use this service, one must register for an account by visiting and providing the necessary inmate information. After registration, one can send an O-mail with a character limit of 13,000 or a maximum of 100 lines, equivalent to two pages.

Sending each O-mail requires a fee. Offenders can add credits to their O-mail account, like their phone account, by requesting a transfer from their banking account. However, O-mail credits incur a 6% tax.

Note that the above communication methods are exclusive to inmates in IDOC facilities. To contact an inmate in an Iowa county jail or juvenile detention center, individuals must inquire with the appropriate Sheriff's Office or the Iowa State School administration to learn about their communication options and procedures.

How To Visit an Inmate in Iowa

Individuals must first be on the inmate's approved visitors list to visit an inmate in an IDOC facility. The intending visitor or inmate must obtain and complete the IDOC visitor application form to satisfy this requirement.

The form must indicate the inmate's and visitor's personal information and be submitted to a centralized visiting authority, which is the Mount Pleasant Correctional Facility.

After submitting the visitation application, visitors must wait for approval from the facility. Once approved, the facility staff will notify the visitor through email, mail, or phone. If the facility denies the visitation application, one can file an appeal by writing an appeal letter.

If approved, visitors can schedule their visits using the Ameelio Connect App, which is exclusively accessible on iPhones, iPads, and Android Phones. If individuals cannot download or don't know how to use the Ameelio Connect app, they can contact the facility they wish to visit and request assistance scheduling their visit.

Before visiting the inmate, it is essential to make the necessary preparations. Familiarize the facility's rules and regulations regarding visitation, as they may have specific dress codes or prohibited items. Generally, visitors must dress modestly and avoid clothing that resembles inmate attire.

On the scheduled visitation day, arrive early at the correctional facility. It allows ample time for check-in procedures, security screenings, and necessary paperwork. Visitors may be required to go through metal detectors, present identification, and have their belongings searched.

For those wishing to visit an inmate outside the IDOC facilities, though the visiting rules of IDOC serve as a model for local and state facilities, it is best to contact the appropriate Sheriff's Office (for a county jail inmate) or the Iowa State School administration (for a juvenile inmate) for their current visitation rules and schedules.

How To Send Money to an Inmate in Iowa

Based on the Offender Banking Policy of the IDOC, the Fort Dodge Correctional Facility (FDCF) is responsible for processing all incoming payments to offender accounts, and other locations do not handle banking operations.

Generally, to send money to inmates for commissary, individuals must make all mail-in deposits through a money order or cashier's check. They need to include the offender's full name, offender ID number, and their name and complete address. Then, the sender must mail all orders to the following address:

IDOC Offender Fiduciary Account

1550 L Street, Suite B

Fort Dodge, IA 50501

In addition to sending money orders, individuals can conveniently fund inmate's commissary accounts online through the following vendors contracted by the IDOC:

Access Corrections

Access Corrections is one of the three contracted vendors facilitating financial transactions for Iowa inmates. To send money through Access Corrections, one must visit their website or call their customer service hotline.

The website offers a user-friendly interface where individuals can create an account and follow the necessary steps to complete the transaction. After creating an account, users can easily add funds to an inmate's account by providing the required information, such as the inmate's name, offender ID number, and facility location, verified through the Iowa Inmate Search tool.

Senders can make payments using a debit or credit card, and the website clearly outlines the transaction fees associated with the service. After processing the payment, the funds are promptly deposited into the inmate's account, granting them the means to purchase from the facility commissary.


JPay is another reliable vendor authorized by the IDOC for money transfers to inmates. To utilize JPAY's services, individuals can visit their website or use their mobile app, which is available for Android and iOS devices.

Like Access Corrections, users must create an account and provide the necessary inmate information, such as the inmate's name, ID number, and facility location.

Western Union

Western Union also serves as a contracted vendor for sending money to inmates in Iowa. To use their services, individuals can utilize their online platform or visit a nearby Western Union agent location.

In the case of online transfers, users need to create an account and provide the necessary inmate details, including their name, offender ID number, and facility location.

The process utilized by the Western Union is "Quick Collect." Senders must designate the recipient as the IDOC. Note that the "sender's account number" comprises the offender's ID number and last name. On the other hand, the Code City for the transaction is IOWADOC, and the State is IA.

After inputting the required information, users can select the desired amount to send and pay using a credit or debit card.

Western Union imposes a fee for their services, and they display the precise amount before confirming the transaction. After processing the payment, they promptly credit the funds to the inmate's account.

For more information on transferring funds electronically and the other specific methods provided by the three vendors above for IDOC inmates, check the "How Do I Send Money to An Offender?" page on the IDOC website.

For those wishing to send money to an inmate in a county jail or juvenile detention center, contact the responsible agency or facility for specific and accurate information.


Counties in Iowa