Execute a Free Tennessee Inmate Search (Look Up Anyone)

Free Tennessee Inmate Search
Lookup jail and prison inmates in Tennessee for free

Perform a free Tennessee inmate search to determine if someone is currently incarcerated and discover many details about their situation.

An inmate is someone who has been arrested and is currently detained in a county, state, or federal facility. In Tennessee, people can find relevant information about inmates throughout the state — including the offenses they committed, their court dates, length of sentence, and even if they’re on probation or parole.

This resource will provide step-by-step guidance to walk interested parties through obtaining Tennessee inmate information with little to no effort or cost.

Being Incarcerated in a Jail vs Prison

There’s a difference between being incarcerated in a jail and a state prison. Understanding that difference may help the search for someone be more productive since an interested citizen would know where to look.

Jails are commonly managed by local law enforcement agencies, such as the sheriff’s office or the city’s police department. Those facilities keep inmates who’ve been arrested but often haven’t had their day in court yet or are serving shorter sentences (of one year or so). Those inmates may be there for a shorter or longer period of time – depending, for example, on being able to post bond if that option is available to them.

When looking for someone who’s been arrested in a recent incident, for example, searching the county or municipal jails may be the most effective way to go.

State prisons hold prisoners who’ve committed more serious crimes that lead to longer sentences. Those inmates have also had their due process and are convicted for the crimes they’ve committed.

State facilities are usually managed by the state’s Department of Corrections (DOC), and most states provide a way for citizens to readily find out if someone’s part of their roster.

There are also federal prisons for those who committed federal crimes. This resource will go over all of those levels to assist concerned citizens in their search, below.

How To Review Details of Anybody in a Jail (Tennessee Inmate Search)

When performing an inmate search in Tennessee, it’s important to keep in mind that individuals who have been recently arrested but haven’t yet been to court for their due process are commonly found in jails, as are those who are serving short sentences and should be released soon.

These correctional facilities are managed by local counties and, in some cases, municipalities. In Tennessee, the most convenient way to search for those offenders is at the county level, with the support of the local sheriff’s offices.

Usually, if someone is trying to locate someone who’s been recently arrested, one way to approach it is to call local law enforcement, such as the sheriff’s office or the police department, from the place where the incident happened. However, some counties in Texas provide more convenient means for citizens to look up their current jail roster.

Shelby County, for instance, has a free search tool called Inmate Lookup.1 This tool allows concerned citizens to perform searches by name (only last name will do if that’s all they have at hand), and the results can include released individuals.

A screenshot displaying the inmate database search results showing details such as inmate name, booking number, permanent ID, date of birth and release date.
Source: Shelby County Sheriff’s Office1

Considering that it’s common for arrestees to be let go on bond or their own recognizance, being able to see who’s been detained lately can be informative.

The results will also include details about the reason for the arrest and a mug shot. If someone needs to contact an inmate currently being held in Shelby County, they can contact the sheriff’s office for instructions and information on how to do it:

Shelby County, Jail Downtown Correctional Facility – Men
201 Poplar Ave.
Memphis, TN 38103

Phone: 901.222.4700
Email: Jail Downtown

Shelby County, Jail East Correctional Facility – Women
6201 Haley Rd.

Memphis, TN 38134

Phone: 901.222.6600

Likewise, Davidson County also offers the people a way to uncover information about who’s currently in jail. The Active Inmate Search allows users to search by name and will show all individuals currently held at the county correctional facility.2

It’s also possible to perform an advanced search (when more details are available and the searcher wishes to narrow the search to a specific individual), and the tool presents a list of recent bookings for cases when a search by name may not be what the searcher desires to do.3

A screenshot of recent bookings showing details, inmate name, race, sex, date of birth, control number, admitted date and release date from the Davidson County Sheriff's Office website.
Source: Davidson County Sheriff’s Office3

This is how the Davidson County Correctional Facilities can be contacted in person:

Davidson County Correctional Facilities-Men
5113 Harding Place
Nashville, TN 37211

Phone: 615.862.8123

Davidson County Correctional Facilities-Women
5115 Harding Place
Nashville, TN 37211

Phone: 615.862.8123

In Tennessee, municipalities will refer searchers to the counties they’re in whenever searching for inmates or information about a recent incident is needed. Although only a few examples are mentioned above, every county can be individually searched.

Citizens can also rely on this Tennessee criminal and arrest resource guide to optimize their search and conveniently save time looking for the person they’re concerned about. Or, as an option, they look at prisoners at the state level, as shown below.

How To Look Up Inmates in a Tennessee State Prison

State correctional facilities usually hold individuals who’ve already gone through due process and are currently serving their sentences; these are usually long-term facilities with a larger capacity of inmates. Most states have many such facilities, and it’s important to consider searching those places when running a Tennessee inmate lookup.

The Tennessee Felony Offender Information System provides information about every inmate who’s currently serving time, including those on probation or parole (who may not be restrained to prison but remain part of the inmate roster until they finish their sentence).4

This tool allows individuals to search for names and aliases. It’ll work fine if only the last name of the inmate is known, too – although that may yield a long list of results, considering it’s a larger population.

The results will include inactive inmates (who’ve been released or have deceased) and detailed information about the crimes they committed, the length of their sentence, and potential release or parole date, among other things. It’ll include a mugshot when available.

A screenshot showing a felony offender information search results showing some information such as TDOC ID, photo, name, birth date, status and assigned location from the Tennessee Department of Correction.
Source: Tennessee Department of Correction4

The Tennessee Department of Correction has a map with all the facilities’ locations.5 There’s also a list of state prisons, if looking at a list of preferred over searching a map. They can also be contacted at their central office using the following details:

Tennessee Department of Correction
320 6th Avenue, North Rachel Jackson Blvd.
Nashville, TN 37243

Phone: 615.741.1000

If the searchers wish to visit the inmate they’re concerned with, there are some instructions that need to be followed. The Tennessee Department of Correction requires all potential visitors to complete an application and wait for approval before scheduling an appointment to see the inmate.6

Visitation applications may take up to 30 days to be approved or denied and the inmate will be communicated about the outcome (not the applicant). It’s the inmate’s responsibility to communicate with the potential visitor and let them know the outcome of the application. After the approval is granted, the visitor may schedule an appointment to visit an inmate.7

It’s also important to mention that, instead of conducting an inmate search, victims have access to special services that help them find support as they navigate dealing with what has happened to them.8

The state of Tennessee has many tools, and they include, among other things, means for victims to be informed about the whereabouts and current status of their offender, without having to go through an extensive search process. Victims should rely on those resources and take advantage of them.

If the prisoner that’s been searched isn’t found at the county facilities or the state correctional centers, they may be a federal prisoner. This isn’t common, but if someone has reason to believe that the offender they’re searching for is being held at a federal prison, there are ways to search for them as well.

How To Review Information on Any Federal Prisoner

Sometimes, while doing an inmate search, it may become necessary to look up federal prisons.

Federal prisoners, held at federal facilities throughout the country, can be located using the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) Inmate Locator.9 This tool shows only federal inmates, which is a limited population, but allows for searches to be performed by name or identification number.

A screenshot displaying an inmate locator search results from the Federal Bureau of Prisons website showing some information such as their full name, register number, age, sex, race, location and release.
Source: Federal Bureau of Prisons9

Also, this tool only carries information about inmates released after 1982, as explained on the Inmate Locator Information Page. Previous information about offenders detained and released before that date may not be available online, and those interested in it should look for it at the National Archives.10 All of those are free resources that citizens can take advantage of.

There’s another useful tool that’s not free but can be of help: the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system.

PACER provides concerned citizens detailed information about federal arrests and search warrants by searching the person’s name. They charge by page when someone searches for records, and users must create an account with a payment method in order to start.11

Whatever tool is chosen, those interested in information about an offender should never hesitate to run a Tennessee inmate search to learn all the information and details that are available to them.


1Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. (n.d). Inmate Database Search Results. Retrieved December 07, 2023, from <https://imljail.shelbycountytn.gov/IML>

2Davidson County Sheriff’s Office. (n.d). Active Inmate Search. Retrieved December 07, 2023, from <https://dcso.nashville.gov/>

3Davidson County Sheriff’s Office. (n.d). Recent Bookings. Retrieved December 07, 2023, from <https://dcso.nashville.gov/Search/RecentBookings>

4Tennessee Department of Correction. (n.d). Felony Offender Information Search. Retrieved December 07, 2023, from <https://foil.app.tn.gov/foil/search.jsp>

5Tennessee Department of Correction. (2020, November 09). Facilities and Offices. Retrieved December 07, 2023, from <https://www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/correction/documents/TDOCFacilitiesOfficesMap.pdf>

6Tennessee Department of Correction. (2007, February). Visitor Application. Retrieved December 07, 2023, from <https://www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/correction/documents/visitationform.pdf>

7Tennessee Department of Correction. (n.d). Guide To Submit Visitation Form For An Adult. Retrieved December 07, 2023, from <https://www.tn.gov/content/tn/correction/state-prisons/visitation/guide-to-submit-visitation-form-for-an-adult.html>

8Tennessee Department of Correction. (n.d). Victim Services. Retrieved December 07, 2023, from <https://www.tn.gov/correction/victim-services.html>

9Federal Bureau of Prisons. (n.d). Find an inmate. Retrieved December 07, 2023, from <https://www.bop.gov/inmateloc/>

10National Archives. (2022, February 02). Research Our Records. Retrieved December 07, 2023, from <https://www.archives.gov/research/order>

11Public Access to Court Electronic Records. (n.d) . PACER Pricing: How fees work. Retrieved December 07, 2023, from <https://pacer.uscourts.gov/pacer-pricing-how-fees-work>