An online tool can help family members find someone who was arrested in Pennsylvania. The Inmate Locator, overseen by the Department of Corrections (DOC), is a database that allows you to see an inmate’s location, inmate number, and other information.
If your loved one is currently in jail and needs a criminal defense attorney, the McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., can help. We offer criminal defense to people who have been arrested or charged with crimes in Montgomery County. Call us at 610-680-7842 for a free consultation.
How Do I Search for Someone on the Database?
To look someone up, you need specific information about them, such as their:
- Date of birth; or
- Inmate identification number.
You will be able to view a variety of identifying information, including their race, gender, and height, to help you locate your loved one. The Inmate Locator also provides their current location, as well as their permanent location if applicable.
Can I View an Arrest Mugshot?
The police must take a mugshot or photo of everyone they arrest. If your loved one is in jail at a local correctional facility, you might be able to view their mugshot online or in person at the jail. To see a mugshot online, you need the inmate’s name and the date of their arrest.
Mugshots are public records, which means you should receive access to them.
How Do I Contact an Inmate?
Being in jail is a difficult and lonely experience. For this reason, the DOC encourages family members to use the Inmate Locator to find and then contact a loved one in jail. If you are unable to visit your loved one in person, there are other ways to stay in contact.
Phone Calls to Inmates
Pennsylvania inmates can make outgoing calls but cannot receive phone calls. If you want to contact an inmate by phone, you will need to contact the correctional facility to determine how administrators handle this process. You might have to set up an account with a phone service or follow other procedural rules.
The jail will monitor and might record these calls. There are fees involved for every call, so read the information carefully when you set up an account.
In most cases, you cannot leave a message for an inmate. If there is an urgent message or death in the family, you should contact the unit manager or other designated contact person for emergency messages. This contact person will relay the message to your family member.
Sending Mail to Inmates
Inmates can send and receive mail. For many people, this is a way to stay in touch with loved ones and the outside world. There are strict rules in place for sending and receiving mail in jail. Inmates cannot send or receive mail from victims, other inmates, or current or previous jail employees or volunteers.
While specific rules always apply, you can send a variety of materials in the mail, including:
- Cards; and
- Reading materials.
You might also be able to send email messages for a fee. Your family member would receive a paper copy of your email in the regular mail. Inmates do not usually have internet access, so it is likely you would receive a response in writing. Remember that mailroom employees will inspect or read all items you send an inmate.
Sending Money or Gifts to Inmates
You might be able to deposit money in a Pennsylvania inmate’s account or order them gifts using the jail’s commissary. Your loved one can use any money you provide to buy snacks or other items.
Does My Family Member Need a Lawyer?
A criminal conviction is serious and can lead to stiff penalties, including incarceration. It can destroy someone’s reputation, job, and their finances. Having a criminal record can prevent someone from obtaining a good job, attending certain schools or universities, or joining the military. Depending on the situation, an offender may lose driving privileges or have to register as a sex offender.
A criminal defense attorney can represent your family member’s best interests, fighting to protect their rights and prevent some of the severe consequences of a conviction. An attorney might be able to negotiate for a lesser charge, have evidence thrown out of a case, or even convince a judge to dismiss the charges. If your family member’s case goes to court, your attorney can represent them throughout their criminal trial.
How Can I Get Help From a Criminal Defense Lawyer?
David C. McKenzie III of the McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., is a criminal defense lawyer in Montgomery County who understands the Pennsylvania criminal justice system. Anyone the police have arrested and charged with a crime has the right to legal representation.
We will look at all the facts in your loved one’s case to determine the best avenue for defense. If your family member is facing criminal charges, call us today at 610-680-7842 for a free case evaluation.