Many states independently provide websites that allow the public to search for offenders that are incarcerated in their jurisdiction. There is no joint collaboration or model followed by each state. State laws vary about the amount if information available to the public, and all of these websites are different.
Anyone searching for inmates online should realize that not all websites are compatible with all browsers. If information that is being searched for is not found, it may be that the browser being used is not compatible, and not loading all items to be viewed on each page that may be critical for the search. Most websites will read, “For use with Internet Explorer 5.0 or higher.
If a later version of, for example, Internet Explorer is being used and not all of the information is viewable, either updating the browser used or accessing the information using a different computer is recommended. Public libraries are a great source. Libraries usually have computers that use the current versions available and are free to use with proper identification. You can call or stop by the library in your community for requirements.
The state of Kentucky provides the public with information about inmates by displaying the name of the inmate, SPN (System Person Number) or ID number, the facility where the inmate is serving, age, race, gender, eye color, hair color, height, weight, date of incarceration, and photo when available utilizing KOOL (Kentucky Offender Online Lookup).
The website contains a notice that reads: “Inmate date newer than 120 days may not have been finalized”, which means that any information for inmates that have served less than four months in any institution in Kentucky may not have complete information yet.
The home page has an easy to use menu on the left hand side of the page and reads from top to bottom as follows:
Departments and Divisions
Institutions and Facilities
Probation and Parole
Office of Victim Services-VINE
Kentucky Offender Online Lookup
Kentucky Correctional Industries
Searching the KOOL system
To find an inmate, click ‘Kentucky Offender Online Lookup’. A new page loads with a disclaimer, beneath the disclaimer is a link to use KOOL, and once clicked will take you to a new page to perform a Kentucky inmate search.
The site also provides a ‘definitions page’ link located at the top right of the search page that will provide definitions for abbreviations used.
The KOOL system search page provides fields for first, middle, and last names as well as a way for search results to be displayed. The system can perform searches will as little information as just a last name.
Users can also choose to use the advanced search feature at the bottom to enter specific information for the search such as race, date of birth, SPN, indictment number, date of crime, date of incarceration or check the box located to the right to check for aliases.
The results provide the inmate’s name, institution, inmate SPN/ID, and a brief description of the offense. If there is a photo available a small camera icon will be displayed by the name and can be viewed by clicking the icon. In Kentucky, photos are update annually unless the inmate’s appearance has changed dramatically and requires an update.
Other information such as race, height, weight, aliases used if any, conviction information, and parole information if applicable.
Kentucky’s website also provides information about each institution individually which can be accessed by clicking the ‘Institutions and Facilities’ option on the index/home page.
Information about inmate mail, inmate phone usage/limitations, inmate visits, and inmate package policies is also available on this page but only in PDF format. There is link provided beneath the file links to download the appropriate free software to read these files.
By choosing this option a new page will load displaying a map showing the location of each facility. A user can also click the facility name on the map for specific information about the facility.
Kentucky inmates are not allowed internet access or access to email, only verified emergency calls are allowed.