Alabama Court Records
The Alabama State Prison System
The Alabama Department of Corrections has oversight over all incarceration centers within the state’s jurisdiction. The ADC operates a headquarters in Montgomery and runs a system that combines penal justice and reformation. The prison system’s primary objectives are to serve justice, safeguard the community, and reform individuals found guilty of criminal activity. These objectives form the basis for sentences, levels of security, parole, probation, community service, and so on.
What is the Difference Between Jail and Prison in Alabama?
The term ‘jail’ and ‘prison’ are used interchangeably in everyday language, but they mean different things. In Alabama, a jail is a confinement facility that houses persons serving short sentences and those in temporary custody. Prisons house criminals who have been given lengthy sentences of usually more than a year. Additionally, county governments manage jails in Alabama—however, federal prisons and county jails typically operate independently of each other. Summarily, prisons serve individuals that have received sentences based on convictions in the court of law, and jails serve to house persons convicted of misdemeanors or guilty of violating probation—they also help to hold persons awaiting trial.
How Many Prisons are in Alabama?
Currently, there are 14 major prison facilities and 12 Community work centers in Alabama:
Below is the list of community work centers in the states
There is one Alabama Therapeutic Education Facility, an out of state facility located at:
102 industrial Parkway
Columbiana, AL 35051
Telephone: (205) 669–1187
How Do I Search for an Inmate in Alabama State Prison?
The Alabama Department of Corrections maintains a physical as well as an online register of inmates. The information in this database is limited to persons currently serving time in the system. When a convict gets admitted into the Alabama prison system, the administration assigns a unique six-digit number known as Alabama institutional serial. This number represents the fastest way to locate an inmate. When an inquirer enters this number, only one record will be returned. If this number is not available, parties can use first and last names as search terms. All records of inmates bearing the name will return as search results. Only 50 matching records are displayed at a time.
Another option is to contact the agency office for information about an inmate at:
Alabama Department of Corrections
301 S. Ripley Street
P. O. Box 301501
Montgomery, AL 36130–1501
Alternatively, send an email
Are Incarceration Records Public in Alabama?
Under the Alabama Public Records Law incarceration records are public information in Alabama. Incarceration records encompass arrests and custody, pretrial confinements, and prison/ jail sentences. Citizens of the state have a right to access these records either in person or online. However, there are certain records that are exempt from public access—medical records, DNA samples, and victim information. Prison records under a seal will not be visible to the public, except to a few eligible people. Incarceration records of juveniles are also inaccessible to the public.
Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:
- The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
- The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.
Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.
How to Look Up Jail Records in Alabama?
Interested parties can access jail history, arrest records, and criminal history information by contacting the primary custodian agency for all these records. Essentially, the agency responsible for the documentation also has primary custody of the document in question. For example, jail records are available at the county sheriff departments in charge of the jail facility of interest. Arrest records are official accounts of arrests made by law enforcement agencies in the state. Either visit the facility in person or request through the mail for the records. Some county websites maintain a register of inmates within the jail facility. While jail records may be free to view, expect to pay a service fee for copying them. The records officer may redact some parts of the record that are considered confidential. Criminal history information is accessible on request both at county law enforcement agencies and centrally at the state repository- Alabama Law Enforcement Agency of criminal history information. Call 1–866–740–4762 or 334–353–4340 for more information or visit any of the field offices. Otherwise, send a mail inquiry to:
State Bureau of Investigation
PO Box 1511
Montgomery, AL 36102
Alternatively, send an email
Can Jail Records be Expunged in Alabama?
In Alabama, selected jail records can be expunged under the following circumstances:
- An arrest or custody that led to no charges
- Dismissal of a charge with prejudice
- Dismissal of a charge without prejudice about two years ago
- A trial process that led to no conviction
Also, jail records for juvenile delinquency qualify for expunction when the juvenile comes of age. At the point of expunction, there must be no incriminating charges against the candidate, or pending investigations. Jail records for felonies that do not qualify for expunction remain permanent records in the public domain unless a request to seal them from access is granted.