Every prisoner is assigned an inmate identification number upon entry into the Federal Bureau of Prisons. This number uniquely identifies each prisoner for tracking and control purposes. It can also be used for an inmate number search. This DOC number is referred to by many different names, for example:
- Inmate Number
- Prison Number
- DOC Number
- Inmate ID Number
- Inmate Identification Number
- Register Number
- BOP Number
Regardless of what this identifier is called, this refers to the specific number assigned to each offender. This number is used for many purposes, including sending mail to an incarcerated loved one, placing funds on their commissary account, and even visiting them.
This page explains what this inmate number is, how to find this identifier, and how to verify a prisoner’s number. This page also describes how the Federal Bureau of Prisons assigns inmate register number codes.
Table of contents
- What is a DOC Number?
- How to Get Inmate ID Number?
- Inmate Number Example
- How to Find Inmate ID Number?
- Federal Inmate Number Codes
- Federal Inmate Register Number Codes
- Searching for Jail Detainees
- Additional Prison Number Search Information
What is a DOC Number?
We regularly receive emails asking about prison numbers. These questions come in many varieties:
- What is a DOC number?
- What is a DOC number for inmates?
- What is an inmate number?
- What is an offender ID number?
All of these questions effectively ask the same question.
An inmate number is the unique numerical identifier each prison system assigns to each offender. You can think of this as akin to a Social Security Number but assigned by prison staff. This way, even if two prisoners have the same first and last names, they still have a different prison number.
Prison officials and courts use this number to identify each offender for records, tracking, and other purposes. Even family members and friends use this number to send money and mail to incarcerated loved ones. This number is also printed on every inmate’s identification card and all official paperwork.
How to Get Inmate ID Number?
Prison systems typically assign inmates identification numbers. But this can differ based on the prison system.
For example, federal offenders are assigned an eight-digit number by the U.S. Marshals Service before entering Federal Bureau of Prisons’ custody. This BOP federal inmate number can be used to search for prisoners.
In many other state departments of corrections, this number is assigned by the court at sentencing. In other state prison systems, this identification number is issued by the prison system itself when the defendant is admitted into state prison custody. You can find this by performing an inmate number lookup.
In summary, since prison authorities issue this DOC number, you don’t need to worry about how to get an inmate number.
Inmate Number Example
Each prison system employs a different numbering convention when assigning prison numbers. While these prison numbers are often numerical, sometimes they also include letters. The following are inmate ID number examples.
Federal Prison Inmate Number Example
Federal inmates have an eight-digit register number. The first five digits are unique to each inmate, while the last three digits are based on the federal sentencing court’s location.
For example, a BOP register number could be 12345-058. The “12345” indicates the unique identifier, and the 058 is the court-specific element (here, an inmate sentenced out of the Western District of North Carolina). But note, the entire number is the inmate’s actual ID number, not solely the first five digits (e.g., 12345-058). This can be utilized when using federal prison number lookups.
State Inmate ID Number Example
Each state has a different DOC number convention. While these typically consist of numbers, they sometimes also include letters.
For instance, the North Carolina Department of Public Safety issues a seven-digit DOC number for each inmate incarcerated. As such, 1234567 is an NC DPS inmate ID number example. This can be found by conducting an inmate number lookup.
The California Department of Corrections & Public Safety uses a mix of letters and numbers in their prison numbers. As such, AK1234 is an illustration of an inmate number. Likewise, BE1234 is another inmate ID number example. This is easily found through an inmate number search.
How to Find Inmate ID Number?
Many who contact us are primarily concerned with how to find their loved one’s prison number. This can sometimes be a challenging endeavor.
The easiest way to find a prison number is by simply asking the offender. When they first arrive in custody, they should have been issued an identification card with this number. If so, they will likely tell you in a letter. You can also look on the outside of the envelope, where inmates are usually required to write the DOC number.
If your loved one recently entered prison custody, there are a few ways to find their inmate ID number before they write you.
The easiest way to find an inmate number is to go to the prison system’s inmate lookup web page, where you can search for your loved one by first and last name. Many states have these tools available online and are free to use.
Ensure to use their full legal name when using these search tools. For example, while an inmate may go by Chris, many inmate search tools require their full first name (e.g., Christopher).
Federal Inmate Number Lookup
You can search for federal inmates using the Bureau of Prisons’ Inmate Locator Tool (click here). This tool allows you to search by first, middle, and last name. You can also search by inmate number. Note that the federal prison inmate locator allows you to search by only first and last name, so you don’t need to know their middle name.
This tool provides not only the prisoner’s name and register number but also their age, race, sex, projected release date, and where they are incarcerated. Note the information on this site is updated daily.
State Inmate Number Search
Many state prison systems also allow inmate number search. Read our Inmate Search page to learn more and find links to each state’s prisoner locator page.
These inmate search tools generally work the same as the tool for federal prisoners. You need to specify the inmate’s first and last name. Some of these systems also allow partial first names (e.g., Tom) and don’t require the full name (e.g., Thomas).
Other Booking Number Lookup and Booking Search Information
Some of these online DOC inmate number search tools allow for additional search inputs. For example, the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ inmate locator allows search by the following:
- BOP Register Number
- DCDC Number
- FBI Number
- INS Number
Many state and federal inmate locators also allow filtering of the results based on the inmate’s rage, age, and sex. Some prisoner locators also allow search by city or county of conviction, birth year, and the defendant’s pre-trial address.
Federal Inmate Number Codes
We receive many questions about federal inmate BOP numbers. These are sometimes called register numbers, BOP numbers, BOP register numbers, FBOP inmate numbers, and inmate registration numbers. These are used to perform an inmate register number search.
U.S. Marshals Service Register Number Assignment
The United States Marshals Service and the Federal Bureau of Prisons assign a specific register number to each federal prisoner. This is sometimes referred to as a registration number and a federal inmate number. The Federal Bureau of Prisons uses this eight-digit number for accountability and tracking purposes.
Inmate register numbers are important for those with loved ones in federal custody because they must be used when sending money or mail to their incarcerated loved ones. They are also sometimes used when applying to visit an inmate.
These eight-digit codes follow a standardized format: XXXXX-0XX.
While the first five digits in the DOC register number are unique to each prisoner, the last three numbers indicate the district where the offender was arrested and processed into the federal correctional system. In effect, the number’s suffix indicates the district wherein the offender was sentenced.
FBOP Inmate Locator by Number
Below are the different codes for the USMS district locations. These U.S. Marshals Service suffix numbers correlate to the specific district of case processing. This can be thought of as akin to the defendant’s sentencing court. This unique identifier is helpful when conducting an inmate number lookup.
If you don’t know a particular federal inmate’s register number, you can always find it on the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ website. Please use our Inmate Locator Tool to learn more about the Bureau’s online federal prisoner locator tool. The number to all offenders is available here. You can use this tool to find their BOP register number.
Please note that some inmates’ numbers return codes such as 380, 480, and 509. In these cases, the last two digits indicate their court district. Stated differently, the first number (e.g.,3xx, 4xx, 5xx) is unique to the inmate. It is not indicative of a different judicial district.
Federal Inmate Register Number Codes
001 – Northern District of Alabama (N/AL)
002 – Middle District of Alabama (M/AL)
003 – Southern District of Alabama (S/AL)
004 – Southern District of Florida (S/FL)
005 – District of the Northern Mariana Islands (D/MP)
006 – District of Alaska (D/AK)
007 – District of Columbia (Superior Court)
008 – District of Arizona (D/AZ)
009 – Eastern District of Arkansas (E/AR)
010 – Western District of Arkansas (W/AR)
011 – Northern District of California (N/CA)
012 – Central District of California (C/CA)
013 – District of Colorado (D/CO)
014 – District of Connecticut (D/CT)
015 – District of Delaware (D/DE)
016 – District of Columbia (D/DC)
017 – Northern District of Florida (N/FL)
018 – Middle District of Florida (M/FL)
019 – Northern District of Georgia (N/GA)
020 – Middle District of Georgia (M/GA)
021 – Southern District of Georgia (S/GA)
022 – District of Hawaii (D/HI)
023 – District of Idaho (D/ID)
024 – Northern District of Illinois (N/IL)
025 – Southern District of Illinois (S/IL)
026 – Central District of Illinois (C/IL)
027 – Northern District of Indiana (N/IN)
028 – Southern District of Indiana (S/IN)
029 – Northern District of Iowa (N/IA)
030 – Southern District of Iowa (S/IA)
031 – District of Kansas (D/KS)
032 – Eastern District of Kentucky (E/KY)
033 – Western District of Kentucky (W/KY)
034 – Eastern District of Louisiana (E/LA)
035 – Western District of Louisiana (W/LA)
036 – District of Maine (D/ME)
037 – District of Maryland (D/MD)
038 – District of Massachusetts (D/MA)
039 – Eastern District of Michigan (E/MI)
040 – Western District of Michigan (W/MI)
041 – District of Minnesota (D/MN)
042 – Northern District of Mississippi (N/MS)
043 – Southern District of Mississippi (S/MS)
044 – Eastern District of Missouri (E/MO)
045 – Western District of Missouri (W/MO)
046 – District of Montana (D/MT)
047 – District of Nebraska (D/NE)
048 – District of Nevada (D/NV)
049 – District of New Hampshire (D/NH)
050 – District of New Jersey (D/NJ)
051 – District of New Mexico (D/NM)
052 – Northern District of New York (N/NY)
053 – Eastern District of New York (E/NY)
054 – Southern District of New York (S/NY)
055 – Western District of New York (W/NY)
056 – Eastern District of North Carolina (E/NC)
057 – Middle District of North Carolina (M/NC)
058 – Western District of North Carolina (W/NC)
059 – District of North Dakota (D/ND)
060 – Northern District of Ohio (N/OH)
061 – Southern District of Ohio (S/OH)
062 – Northern District of Oklahoma (N/OK)
063 – Eastern District of Oklahoma (E/OK)
064 – Western District of Oklahoma (W/OK)
065 – District of Oregon (D/OR)
066 – Eastern District of Pennsylvania (E/PA)
067 – Middle District of Pennsylvania (M/PA)
068 – Western District of Pennsylvania (W/PA)
069 – District of Puerto Rico (D/PR)
070 – District of Rhode Island (D/RI)
071 – District of South Carolina (D/SC)
073 – District of South Dakota (D/SD)
074 – Eastern District of Tennessee (E/TN)
075 – Middle District of Tennessee (M/TN)
076 – Western District of Tennessee (W/TN)
077 – Northern District of Texas (N/TX)
078 – Eastern District of Texas (E/TX)
079 – Southern District of Texas (S/TX)
080 – Western District of Texas (W/TX)
081 – District of Utah (D/UT)
082 – District of Vermont (D/VT)
083 – Eastern District of Virginia (E/VA)
084 – Western District of Virginia (W/VA)
085 – Eastern District of Washington (E/WA)
086 – Western District of Washington (W/WA)
087 – Northern District of West Virginia (N/WV)
088 – Southern District of West Virginia (S/WV)
089 – Eastern District of Wisconsin (E/WI)
090 – Western District of Wisconsin (W/WI)
091 – District of Wyoming (D/WY)
093 – District of Guam (D/GU)
094 – District of the Virgin Islands (D/VI)
095 – Middle District of Louisiana (M/LA)
097 – Eastern District of California (E/CA)
098 – Southern District of California (S/CA)
Searching for Jail Detainees
The above information is designed to assist family members and friends of sentenced prisoners. If you have a loved one in county jail or who has otherwise not yet entered prison custody and would like to locate them, please get in touch with us.
The process for locating a pre-sentence criminal defendant is similar to finding a state or federal inmate, but the process tends to be more challenging. This is primarily due to every county jail having its own inmate identification and location system. If you find yourself in this situation, you will likely need to search local county jail websites. This sometimes requires identifying nearby county jails and calling each facility.
Most local county jails don’t assign DOC numbers. As such, they don’t require a DOC number for money deposits or correspondence purposes.
With this being said, you should always contact the county jail before attempting to deposit money or sending letters to verify. Some larger jails do require a detainee identification designation. In such cases, you can use their inmate lookup number system.
Additional Prison Number Search Information
Don’t hesitate to contact us if you need additional assistance with using the BOP inmate search by number or federal inmate lookup by number tools. The Zoukis Consulting Group is here to help in your time of need.
Published Jun 2, 2017 by Christopher Zoukis, JD, MBA | Last Updated by Christopher Zoukis, JD, MBA on Jul 4, 2022 at 8:01 am