"Prisoner" is the term used to describe people who are in custody after having been arraigned in court, while awaiting disposition of their case, and people who have been sentenced to a period of incarceration. To locate a person who has just been arrested but has not yet been arraigned, go to What if someone I know is arrested.

New York City Jails

If a judge sets bail at arraignment, or orders a person held without bail, the prisoner is transferred to a jail operated by the New York City Department of Correction. The Department has jails in almost every borough of the City. The Department operates an automated telephone system 24 hours a day that you can call to learn a prisoner’s location: 212-266-1500. The system functions in both English and Spanish. It is easier to locate a prisoner if you have his "book and case" number (City Correction ID number) or NYSID number (the "rap sheet" number or N.Y. ID number). This system also provides information on how to retrieve the property of a person who has been arrested and how to deposit money in a prisoner’s personal jail account.

You can also use the Inmate Look-up Service website to check the inmate's status.

State Prisons

People who receive sentences longer than one year are transferred upstate to prisons operated by the New York State Department of Correctional Services. The Department of Correctional Services operates a website http://www.docs.state.ny.us that provides the location of every prisoner in the state system. After entering the website, click onto Inmate Locator. You can locate a prisoner by name, but this system is more accurate and quicker if you also have the Department Identification Number (State Correction’s ID number, e.g., 01-A-0000).

You can also call the Department of Correctional Services during normal business hours at 518-457-5000 to ask for a prisoner’s location. You need a person's name and date of birth.  Again, it is easier to get this information if you provide the Department Identification Number.