Criminal Defense Blog NYC

Investigation Tools: Rikers Island Inmate Lookup Service

Posted by Bruce Yerman, Esq. on December 16, 2017

Inmate Lookup Service

If you’re investigating whether a loved one, a family member, or a sworn enemy is detained on Rikers Island, the “Tombs”, or any other facility run by the New York City Department of Correction, click here for the Rikers Island Inmate Lookup Service.

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You only need to type in the first name and the last name of the person you’re trying to locate.  You don’t need to enter a date of birth, even though the form requests one.

If the person you’re looking for used a name other than the one you’re using in your search, then you won’t locate that person.  (This often happens, for example, when an arrested person gives an “alias” to police, or when police misspell the arrested person’s name.)

Generally speaking, a person accused of a crime will appear in the Inmate Locator if that person meets both of the following conditions:

  1. Accused of committing a crime within one of the five boroughs of New York City: Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens or Staten Island; and
  2. Arraigned on a criminal matter, with bail set but not posted; or convicted of a crime and serving one or more “definite” jail sentences of one year or less.

Generally speaking, a person accused of a crime will not appear in the Inmate Locator if that person meets any one of the following conditions:

  1. In police custody, but not yet seen by a judge;
  2. In NYC Department of Correction custody for less than 24 hours;
  3. Accused of committing a crime anywhere in the world other than the five boroughs of New York City (unless held in New York City on an “extradition warrant”);
  4. Released on a summons;
  5. Released on a desk appearance ticket;
  6. Released on recognizance (“ROR”);
  7. Released on bail; or
  8. Sentenced to one or more “determinate” or “indeterminate” terms of imprisonment of one year or more.

The Inmate Locator only identifies people who are currently in custody, not people who were in custody in the past — although information often lingers for a month after an inmate is released.

Among other things, you can determine the following information about a person listed in the Inmate Locator:

  1. year of birth
  2. height
  3. weight
  4. New York State ID number
  5. jail housing facility
  6. jail ID (“book and case”) number
  7. arrest number
  8. bail status
  9. name of court
  10. next court date
  11. court docket number(s)
  12. top criminal charge(s)

Because it provides so much information, the Inmate Locator can serve as an excellent investigation tool.


Bruce Yerman is a New York City criminal defense attorney.  If you'd like to discuss criminal defense, contact Bruce for a free consultation:

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Topics: Investigation, Inmate Lookup


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