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Florida Court Records

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The Florida State Prison System

The Florida State prison system oversees offenders' correction and rehabilitation through incarceration, probation, supervision, education programs, and re-entry programs. The Department of Corrections (FDC) manages and operates state correctional facilities. There are 143 facilities in Florida, including road prisons, re-entry centers, forestry camps, annexes, private facilities, and work release centers.

The FDC only manages state prisons. County jails are operated and maintained by county Sheriff's Departments, and where available, the county's department of corrections.

What is the Difference Between Jail and Prison in Florida?

In Florida, persons who are accused of a crime and awaiting trial are held in jails. They are also the incarceration facility for misdemeanor offenders - persons sentenced to no more than one year of imprisonment. Jails in each Florida county are operated and maintained by the county Sheriff's Department. In some cases, the department of corrections in the county where the jail is located operates it.

Prisons hold persons convicted of felony crimes and other offenses punishable by imprisonment for more than one year. Offenders convicted of violating state laws are incarcerated in state prisons. In contrast, those convicted of violating federal laws are incarcerated in federal prisons. In Florida, state prisons are regulated by the Department of Corrections(FDC). Federal prisons are regulated by the Bureau of Prisons (BOP).

How Many Prisons are in Florida?

Florida's prison system is the third-largest in the country. It employs 24,000 people, supervises up to 161,000 offenders, and incarcerates about 94,000 inmates. The Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) operates and manages a total of 143 facilities. The facilities are grouped into four regions, with the Tallahassee Central Office providing support and oversight to the regional facilities. There are:

  • 50 major institutions and 17 annexes
  • Seven (7) private facilities
  • Three (3) re-entry centers
  • 34 work camps
  • One (1) forestry camp
  • Two (2) road prisons
  • One (1) basic training camp
  • 12 FDC-operated work release centers
  • 16 privately-operated work release centers

State prisons are the incarceration facilities for convicts sentenced to more than one year of imprisonment. Upon conviction, convicts are transported from county jails to one of the six FDC reception centers - two for females and four for males. At the reception centers, the inmates are assessed, tested, evaluated, and processed for needs and security risks. The results of the evaluation, together with some other factors, will determine the inmate's placement. Determining factors include:

  • Length of sentence
  • The seriousness of the offense committed
  • The convict's criminal history
  • Prison adjustment
  • Escape history

How do I search for an Inmate in Florida State Prison?

In Florida, interested persons can find inmate information with the FDC's Inmate Population Information Search tool. The search criteria are the inmate's name and the Department of Corrections (DC) number. A DC number is the primary identification method for prison inmates. It is assigned to each inmate on arrival at a state prison, and it is six characters long. The characters can be numeric or alphanumeric.

The Inmate Population Information Search tool returns results containing information about convicts sentenced to FDC facilities or state supervision. Results may include photographs, criminal history, and other public records. Criminal history information includes prior and current offenses, attempted offenses, and crime solicitations. The FDC gets the information contained in its Corrections Offender Database from court records. The database is updated weekly, but location changes and release dates are updated nightly. The Corrections Offender Database does not contain information about inmates in county jails or offenders sentenced to county supervision.

Are Incarceration Records Public in Florida?

In the interest of public safety, inmate records are available to the public in Florida. According to the state's Public Records Act, otherwise known as the Sunshine Law, all government records are open to the public for inspection and copying. The Department of Corrections maintains state or FDC inmates' information. They are available through the Inmates Population Information Search tool and FDC's Public Records Center. Interested persons may also request incarceration records directly from the facility or institution where the inmate is incarcerated. The FDC's website provides contact information for all its institutions. The Florida Department of Law Enforcementmaintains public records of criminal history and makes them available to the public on request. Interested persons may request public records in person, by mail, and by telephone. Requests can also be made online through the Florida Criminal History Record Check tool. The tool provides options for instant criminal history searches, certified records searches, and an ORI-based search.

Interested persons may request public records in person at:

Florida Department of Law Enforcement
2331 Phillips Road
Tallahassee, FL 32308
Office Hours: Monday- Friday 8 AM – 5 PM

Requestors can send requests for public records by mail to:

Florida Department of Law Enforcement
Attn: Office of the General Counsel
P.O. Box 1489
Tallahassee, FL 32302-1489

Alternatively, requestors may contact the records custodian via phone at (850) 410-7676 or email at publicrecords@fdle.state.fl.us.

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 Florida?

Persons convicted of misdemeanor offenses are incarcerated in county jails. Typically, offenses for which people are incarcerated in jails are punishable by prison terms of no more than one year. Jails also serve as temporary holding places for offenders awaiting trial. There are 67 county jails in Florida; the Sheriff's Department in each county manages and operates county jails. Where they are available, county departments of corrections manage and operate county jails.

Some counties provide search tools on their official websites where interested persons may look up jail and arrest records. Examples of such counties are Gilchrist and Alachua. Where search tools are not available, interested persons may contact the Sheriff's Department, the county jail, or the Department of Corrections in each county. Jail records may also be available through third-party websites.

Can Jail Records be Expunged in Florida?

Yes, jail records can be expunged in Florida if:

  • There were no charges filed against the subject of the record
  • Charges filed against the person were dismissed
  • There are no prior convictions or delinquent adjudications
  • Probation and other sentence requirements for the current offense have been fulfilled
  • The offense for which expunction is sought is eligible under Section 943.0584

There are different expungement options available in Florida, and they include:

  • Administrative expungement
  • Court-ordered expungement
  • Human-trafficking expungement
  • Lawful self-defense expungement
  • Early juvenile expungement
  • Automatic juvenile expungement
  • Juvenile diversion expungement

The Department of Law Enforcement offers more information on the available expungement options and processes.

According to Section 943.0585, Florida Statutes, to qualify for court-ordered expungement, an offender must first apply to the Department of Law Enforcement for a certificate of eligibility. If the applicant meets the eligibility criteria listed in the state statutes, the department may issue a certificate of eligibility. The certificate is valid for one year and must be submitted with the applicant's petition for expungement. Jail record holders may submit applications for record expungement through the Department of Law Enforcement website.

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