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How To Know Prisoners' ID Number In California

Written by: Jody Adams
Last updated: January 31, 2024

California houses one of the largest prison populations in the United States. If you are trying to locate or communicate with an inmate, knowing their identification (ID) number is essential. This article will guide you through the process of finding a prisoner's ID number in California while ensuring the protection of their privacy.

Importance of Prisoner's ID Number

A prisoner's ID number, also known as an inmate number or booking number, is a unique identifier assigned to each prisoner upon their entry into the correctional system. This number is used to track, manage, and maintain inmate records throughout their incarceration.

Tracking Inmates

Prisoner ID numbers are crucial for tracking inmate locations, transfers, and release dates within the correctional system. They enable the authorities to efficiently manage inmate populations and maintain accurate records.

Communicating with Inmates

Knowing a prisoner's ID number is essential for communication, as it's required for sending mail or visiting an inmate. It helps ensure that your correspondence reaches the intended recipient.

Accessing Inmate Records

Inmate ID numbers are used to access public records and information about a prisoner's criminal history, convictions, and sentence length. This information can be useful for legal purposes or personal research.

To successfully locate a prisoner's ID number, you must provide the inmate's full legal name and date of birth. Providing additional information, such as aliases, gender, or race, may help narrow down the search results if the inmate has a common name.

4 Methods to Find a Prisoner's ID Number in California

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) is responsible for managing the state's adult and juvenile correctional facilities. The CDCR provides various means to locate a prisoner's ID number, including online, telephone, and in-person methods.

1. CDCR Inmate Locator Website

The easiest way to find a prisoner's ID number in California is to use the CDCR Inmate Locator website. This online tool allows you to search for an inmate by entering their full name and date of birth. The search results will provide you with the prisoner's ID number, current location, and release date.

2. Telephone Inquiry

You can also call the CDCR Identification Unit at (916) 445-6713 to request an inmate's ID number. Be prepared to provide the inmate's full name and date of birth. This method may take longer due to high call volumes.

3. Visiting a CDCR Facility

If you prefer an in-person approach, you can visit the CDCR facility where the inmate is housed and request their ID number from the facility staff. Keep in mind that you may need to provide valid identification and undergo a security check.

4. Written Request

Lastly, you can submit a written request to the CDCR Identification Unit, providing the inmate's full name, date of birth, and any other relevant information. Written requests may take longer to process compared to other methods, so it's best to consider this option when you have ample time.

While locating a prisoner's ID number is essential for communication and accessing public records, it's important to respect inmate privacy. Do not share an inmate's ID number or personal information without their consent or a valid legal reason.

Common Reasons for Inability to Locate a Prisoner's ID Number

Sometimes, you may encounter difficulties in locating a prisoner's ID number. Some common reasons for this include:

  • Incorrect or incomplete inmate information
  • Recent transfers or releases
  • The inmate is housed in a federal or out-of-state facility
  • The inmate is in a local jail, not a state prison

If you face any of these issues, double-check the information you have, and consider reaching out to local jails or federal facilities if necessary.


Locating a prisoner's ID number in California is crucial for communication, tracking, and accessing public records. The CDCR provides various methods to find this information, including online, telephone, and in-person options. By providing accurate inmate information and respecting their privacy, you can successfully navigate the process of finding a prisoner's ID number.

Navigating life after incarceration can be challenging, especially when it comes to finding housing. If you're an ex-felon, you may encounter difficulty in finding apartments that will accept you. Fortunately, you can seek assistance from organizations that specialize in helping ex-felons find housing.

Become familiar with the grants, assistance, and resources that the government offers to California felons by visiting Gov Relations today!

Frequently Asked Questions

Let’s answer the most frequently asked questions 

Can I locate a prisoner's ID number without their date of birth?

It is possible, but providing the inmate's date of birth will help narrow down the search results and increase the likelihood of finding the correct ID number.

How do I find a prisoner's ID number if they are housed in a federal facility or another state?

You may need to contact the Federal Bureau of Prisons or the appropriate state's department of corrections to locate an inmate's ID number in these cases.

Can I use a prisoner's ID number to locate them after their release?

No, the prisoner's ID number is only useful for locating them within the correctional system. Once an inmate is released, their ID number will no longer be applicable for tracking purposes.

Jody Adams
Jody Adams is an accomplished editor-in-chief with a deep understanding of social care and government benefits issues. With a background in journalism and a master's degree in Public Policy, Jody has spent her career shaping the narrative around social policies and their impact on society. She has worked with renowned publications, effectively bridging the gap between complex policy analysis and public understanding. Jody's editorial expertise ensures that vital information on social care and government benefits reaches a broad audience, empowering individuals to make informed decisions.
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