How To Find Mugshots Using Simple Trick (Includes Old, Past Mugshots)

Background check repair icon.Written by Background Check Repair

Criminal Records | June 10, 2024

How to find mugshots being asked by man sitting at a desk looking at a computer with arrest records pulled up and thinking how to find old mugshots like the ones on the right.

For those who want to learn how to find mugshots and how to find past mugshots for free, the following step-by-step process is easy to perform and will deliver the pictures quickly.

Learning how to find old mugshots online, inmate mugshots, and search mugshots free by name, is just a matter of knowing one simple trick: where the mugshots are kept.

By understanding how the Judicial System works (and how public criminal records are searched and stored), anyone can know how to find mugshots quickly and easily using this guide.

Keep in mind the quickest way to search for mugshots of anyone with a criminal record is through using a mugshot database comprised of official criminal and arrest records.

Check Criminal Records
Check anyone's criminal record and search their past for crimes, charges, arrests, and convictions.

How To Find Mugshots and Search Mugshots By Name

Knowing how to find mugshots and search mugshots by name can be a valuable tool. Luckily, there are various ways to perform a mugshot search.

The simple trick is knowing where to look for mugshots. The following steps provide detailed options for how to find someone’s mugshot:

Step 1: Use the State Department Of Corrections

The third way to find mugshots and search mugshots by name is to use the state’s department of corrections website. For example, if a person is searching for mugshots of someone in Pennsylvania, they can use the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections site that regulates the prison system and the parole supervision.

Individuals using the department of corrections for their specific state can use the federal database to find the website for their individual state through the United States Government homepage.

Next, they can click on “Prisoner Search” to find the person’s mugshot by their prisoner number or first and last name. (Specific and more detailed instructions are provided below.)

Screenshot corrections departments by state.

The U.S. government provides tools for how to find someone’s mugshot on the Corrections Department by State page lookup tool.

Step 2: Use the State’s Sex Offender Registry

The fourth step that individuals can use to find a mugshot is by searching their state’s sex offender registry. Every state has a sex offender registry that can provide mugshots that would otherwise be private or confidential information.

In some states, mugshots are much harder to find. However, the sex offender mugshots are available for public knowledge.

  • Individuals can search using the offender’s name, nearby location, or conviction.
  • Searchers can use the National Sex Offender Registry to find state sex offender convictions and crimes on the national level.
  • Those looking for a specific person can

Step 3: Use Local Police Departments

The fifth way that an individual can search for a person’s mugshot is by using local police and sheriff department resources. Some law enforcement agencies depending on the state will post the mugshots online that are available for public consumption, as an easy way for people to know how to check if someone was arrested, or how to examine the details of the arrest.

However, this is not common in the 50 states, so individuals should check other online sites in addition to this potential resource.

Step 4: Mobile Apps for How To Find Past Mugshots Free

Individuals can find a mugshot by using an online mobile phone app. Although these may be less reliable than other online options or in-person choices, using an app, such as JailBase, can provide a quick mugshot search tool.

Step 5: Go to the Police Station

One of the best in-person options that an individual can use to find a person’s mugshot is to go to the local police station. Instead of solely searching online, going to the police station can make it possible to speak with an officer face-to-face to clear up any misconceptions or misunderstandings—and verify if someone is in central booking.

Step 6: Go to the Court of the County (How to Find Past Mugshots for Free)

The second in-person option that individuals can use to find a person’s mugshot is to visit the county courthouse in their local jurisdiction. If the searcher lives in a small and unpopulated area, they may find that there is no database containing a list of people who have committed crimes or mugshots. Visiting the courthouse in this instance is the best way to find a mugshot and arrest records.

Individuals should input all of the information they can when using the website, such as the person’s name and date of birth to narrow down their search.

Step 7: Go to the Federal Bureau of Prisons Website

Another reliable option that individuals can use to find a person’s mugshot is to visit the BOP website. This site shows a listing of federal inmates by name, inmate locators, and the opportunity to find an inmate by searching a national database.

One of the main benefits of using this website is that it shows arrest records and convictions dating back to 1982, making it possible to find a person’s mugshot who has been out of the system for multiple decades.

the Federal Bureau of Prisons Inmate finder tool screenshot.

The Federal BOP offers an inmate finder tool that allows users to lookup inmates at the federal correctional level.

Step 8: Obtain a Background Check

A personal background check will also often provide mugshots. There are many reputable companies that can provide background check services at a minimal fee, or even a free trial.

The following list provides links for every state, for finding mugshots through the Department of Corrections.

StateState Mugshot Process
Find Mugshots in AlabamaAlabama Department of Corrections
Find Mugshots in AlaskaCourt Records Search – State of Alaska
Find Mugshots in ArizonaInmate Datasearch – Arizona Department of Corrections
Find Mugshots in CaliforniaPublic Records – State of California Department of Justice
Find Mugshots in ColoradoColorado State Arrest Records
Find Mugshots in ConnecticutPublic Records Online – Connecticut Judicial Branch
Find Mugshots in DelawareArrest Archives – Delaware State Police
Find Mugshots in FloridaOffender Information Search – Florida Department of Corrections
Find Mugshots in GeorgiaGeorgia Department of Corrections – Find an Offender
Find Mugshots in HawaiiCriminal History Records Check 
Find Mugshots in IdahoOffender Search Idaho Department of Correction
Find Mugshots in IndianaIndiana Public Records Inquiry
Find Mugshots in IowaOffender Search Iowa Department of Corrections
Find Mugshots in KansasKansas Department of Corrections
Find Mugshots in KentuckyKentucky Offender Search
Find Mugshots in LouisianaBureau of Criminal Identification and Information
Find Mugshots in MaineArrests – Maine State Police
Find Mugshots in MarylandPublic Information Request – Maryland State Police
Find Mugshots in MassachusettsCriminal Records
Find Mugshots in MichiganMSP Criminal History Records
Find Mugshots in MinnesotaMinnesota Public Criminal History Search
Find Mugshots in MississippiInmate Search – Mississippi Department of Corrections
Find Mugshots in MissouriMODOC Offender Search
Find Mugshots in MontanaOffender Search – Online Services
Find Mugshots in NebraskaIncarceration Record Search
Find Mugshots in NevadaInmates Nevada Department of Corrections
Find Mugshots in New HampshireCriminal Records – NH State Police
Find Mugshots in New JerseyCriminal Cases: PROMIS/Gavel Public Access
Find Mugshots in New MexicoNMCD Offender Search
Find Mugshots in New YorkCriminal History Records, Background Checks – NY DCJS
Find Mugshots in North CarolinaCriminal Offender Searches – NC DPS
Find Mugshots in North DakotaResident Lookup – North Dakota Department of Corrections
Find Mugshots in OhioOffender Search –
Find Mugshots in OklahomaOffender Lookup –
Find Mugshots in OregonOregon State Police: Criminal History Record Checks
Find Mugshots in PennsylvaniaLook Up an Inmate/Parolee – Pennsylvania Department of Corrections
Find Mugshots in Rhode IslandCriminal record – Rhode Island Government
Find Mugshots in South CarolinaInmate Search – SCDC
Find Mugshots in South DakotaOffender Locator: SD Dept of Corrections
Find Mugshots in TennesseeInmate Search – State Services –
Find Mugshots in TexasCrime Records – Department of Public Safety
Find Mugshots in UtahOffender Search – Utah Department of Corrections
Find Mugshots in VermontPublic Information – Vermont State Police
Find Mugshots in VirginiaCivil and Applicant Records Exchange
Find Mugshots in WashingtonInmate Data Search – Washington State Department of Corrections
Find Mugshots in West VirginiaOffender Search – West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation
Find Mugshots in WisconsinDOC Home –
Find Mugshots in WyomingWyoming Offender Locator – State of Wyoming

Step-by-Step Process for Searching Mugshots at the State Correctional Level

The process for searching for a mugshot can be done through state correctional facilities.

For example, someone may want to find an individual’s mugshot in the state of Pennsylvania. For those who want to learn how to find mugshots in PA, there are a few things to keep in mind before starting the search.

In this state, there is no central database that offers mugshots — instead, individuals must visit the local agency or jail where the person is booked. However, a person can find an individual’s arrest record by doing the following:

Step 1: Visit The Pennsylvania State Department Of Corrections Website

Step 2: Click ‘inmates’

Step 3: Click ‘Look Up An Inmate/Parolee’

Step 4: Click On ‘Search Our Database To Find An Inmate Or Parolee’

Step 5: Input The Search Criteria

Inmate Locator – First name, last name, inmate number, parole number, Gender, Race, Committing County, Current location, citizenship, date of birth

Individuals can use the local jail website to find a person’s mugshot and arrest records. For example, individuals searching for a persons’ mugshot in Philadelphia will have to use the local City of Philadelphia website.

Step 1: Visit The City Of Philadelphia Website.

Step 2: Click On The ‘Incarcerated Person Locator

Step 3: Input Information

  • PID number
  • Full name and date of birth

Are Mugshots Public Record?

When compared to other records, like fingerprints and recent arrest records, mugshots are a bit more complicated.

Mugshots are used by those in law enforcement to correctly identify people who have been arrested in the past or those currently held in the system. Compared to other records that have different stipulations and are more susceptible to privacy laws, mugshots are considered public records.

Where Can I Find Mugshots for Free? (Search Records to Lookup Mugshots Online)

For individuals who want to find a person’s mugshot without paying a fee to a background check agency or online service, there are numerous online and in-person options. If the mugshots are made available to the public and do not obtain any extenuating circumstances, like a person whose identity has been blocked, then someone will be able to obtain the mugshot for free.

The most common ways to find mugshots for free is using online websites that offer public databases, visiting the local sheriff’s office, visiting the county courthouse, using the state department of corrections, or using local police departments.

  • Online free websites — Individuals can use free websites, such as PrisonHandbook, to find current and old mugshots. Users can even discover the information they are looking for by learning how to find mugshots on Reddit, search engines, and free services.
  • In-person questioning — The second way that individuals can learn how to find mugshots for free is by going to in-person services, such as the county courthouse, local police station, or state department of corrections to find the individual in question.
  • Federal website — The last way that individuals can find a mugshot for free is to use the Federal Bureau of Prisons website. This website provides individuals with information regarding any inmate who has an arrest record stored in the federal (country-wide) prison system.

How to Find Old Mugshots (How To Find Old Mugshots for Free)

Some of the most effective ways to find old mugshots for inmates who are not currently in the prison system or held by a state or county jail is to use online resources that contain wide-reaching databases of arrests in the entire state.

Some of the most common ways to find old mugshots is to do one of the following:

  • Contact the arresting agency — Individuals who want to find a person’s mugshot can find the arresting agency and contact them online via the official website. Individuals can either call, fill out an online form, or email the department in question.
  • Use the county arrest records — Perform a county arrest records search using the person’s name.
  • Use online public records directory— Look through an online search directory that is free and available to the public, using the persons’ name and state of arrest.
  • County clerk website — Another way to find old mugshots for free is to go online to the county clerk’s website to see past mugshots of previous criminals or those who have been arrested. Individuals who are looking for old mugshots from previous years can browse online or use the online information to contact the county clerk courthouse via phone or e-mail to browse the records in person.
  • Internet Search — The last way to find a mugshot for free is to simply perform internet search. Although the individual may be skeptical about what they find through search engines like Yahoo or Google, well-known crimes, criminals, or news stories can pop up on the first page of search results.This will make the mugshot-finding process much quicker and easier than using state websites, county clerk websites, and arresting agencies.

For those who are having trouble finding mugshots through search engines, try searching the person’s first and last name along with the location of the supposed crime. This way, any news sources that covered the crime will appear on the search results.

How To Find Someone’s Mugshot (Federal)

Some individuals may want to find a person’s federal mugshot to see when and why they were arrested and booked into the court system. In this case, individuals can use the federal inmate locator on Individuals can use the ‘Find an Inmate’ search to identify any felon offender from 1982 until current times.

  • Searchers should try to find out the person’s DCDC, FBI, INS number, first name, last name, and/or gender

Step 1: Visit The Federal Bureau Of Prisons Website

Step 2: Click On ‘inmates’ In The Top Menu Bar

Step 3: Click On ‘find By Number’ Of ‘find By Name’

  • Find By Number – BOP Register Number, DCDC Number, FBI Number, or INS Number
  • Find by Name – First, middle, last name, Race, Age, Sex

Finding inmate mugshots, searching mugshots online, and looking up mugshots online can be confusing at first. However, individuals can browse the fastest and most cost-effective ways to find important information pertaining to a current or past criminal to browse arrest records, court convictions, and mugshots in just a few easy steps.

Knowing how to find mugshots and how to lookup old mugshots can be an invaluable identification tool.

Frequently Asked Questions about How to Find Mugshots

Are All Mugshots Public Record?

For the majority of offenders, yes, mugshots are public record. However, some states limit who may access the mugshots without an FOIA request, and juvenile mugshots are often sealed.


1Findmugshots: Find Mugshots and Arrest Records Website. Retrieved from <>

2Prison Handbook. Retrieved from <>

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it