Florida County Jails

If your loved one or relative has been arrested, it suddenly becomes much more important to know the difference between jail and prison, and how to contact someone being held in one of them.  Florida jails, for instance, are designed to hold suspects still waiting for a trial date, or anyone convicted of a crime with less than a year sentence.   Florida prisons, on the other hand, are designated only for those who have been convicted of a crime with a sentence of more than 365 days.

Florida Inmate Search

Where your friend or loved one is held makes a huge difference in how you go about finding them.  Because the prison system in Florida is owned and operated by the state, to find an inmate at one of these facilities, you would simply use the state prison inmate search tool, provided by the Florida Department of Corrections here (http://www.dc.state.fl.us/ActiveInmates/search.asp).   Should you be unable to locate the person you are looking for there, the state also provides an offender search tool at http://www.dc.state.fl.us/AppCommon/ which includes:  released inmates, former inmates currently under supervision, released inmates who have violated parole, and escaped inmates.

Trying to carry out a Florida inmate search for one of the state’s county jails can prove a bit more challenging.  Because there is no centralized database for these facilities, someone trying to find an inmate has to know the county their friend or relative is being housed at.  Each county jail has its own searchable data bank, which the public can use to find someone they know.  For example, if you were to do an inmate lookup at the Escambia County jail, you could use the website found at http://inmatelookup.myescambia.com/smartwebclient/jail.aspx by putting in the detainee’s relevant details.  Most of the 67 county facilities have electronic searchable databases where one can trace updated arrest records.

In summary, a Florida arrest search depends on knowing where the detainee was arrested.  Using the county jail database, you can then search for someone in particular, using first/last name, date of birth, or booking # if you know it.

Useful facts and statistics

  • As of end-of-year 2014, there were 100,873 inmates housed in the Florida prison system, distributed over 56 state prisons.
  • In the county jail system, there were 62,803 inmates distributed over 67 facilities as of the 2006 census.
  • The 2013 crime rate in Florida was 17% higher than the national average.  The violent crime rate was 35% higher than other states.
  • Statistics for fiscal year 2013-2014 indicate that it costs more than $18,000 per year to house and provide basic services to an inmate at a Florida prison.

Inmates rights and prerogatives

Florida inmates have the same basic rights that any person in any other correctional facility in the United States has, including:

  • The right to be housed in “humane” facilities, and inmates awaiting trial in a pre-trial jail facility cannot be treated as though they are guilty.
  • The right to receive medical care if needed, including mental health treatment, in a manner that is “appropriate under the circumstances.”
  • The right to receive mail, although it may be opened by prison guards to ensure no contraband or weapons are contained.
  • The right to receive money while in prison/jail.
  • The right to place a collect call to pre-approved numbers, which may include cell phones or landlines.  Inmates may not receive phone calls. For further details go to http://www.dc.state.fl.us/oth/inmates/calling.html.