Run a Free South Carolina Inmate Search (Verify Status)

Free South Carolina Inmate Search
Lookup jail and prison inmates in South Carolina for free

Conduct a free South Carolina inmate search right away to find details of anyone currently incarcerated in the state.

Respecting the privacy laws of inmates is important, especially with free access to public records under state and federal public record laws.

Inmates are individuals confined within correctional facilities such as prisons or jails while they serve a court-ordered sentence. This follows a conviction of a range of offenses, from misdemeanors to felonies. The key to an efficient lookup is knowing how to access online databases and contact record custodians. This concise resource gives citizens all they need to quickly locate inmate records in South Carolina.

Inmates in Jails & Prisons: What’s the Difference?

The terms jail and prison are often used interchangeably in the public arena when referring to a facility for criminals. However, there are distinct differences between the two when it comes to the purpose of the facility, the classification of the individuals being housed there and the duration of their stay.

Local jail inmates account for the largest proportion of those in prison, followed by state prisoners, then federal inmates.

These distinctions are important when an inmate search is conducted because the authorities who oversee the facility differ. You’ll need to know who to contact should any questions arise and ensure adherence to any responsible use of the information provided.

The South Carolina jail system consists of 50 jails in 46 counties.1 Inmates are given a custody classification, and facilities are categorized by how they’re equipped, including facility design and the number of staff employed on site.

Jails commonly function as temporary holding facilities for individuals awaiting trial, serving brief sentences or even awaiting transfer to a different facility to serve a longer sentence. The duration of time spent in jail can last anywhere from 24 hours up to one year. Inmates here are typically held until their trial or bail is posted for them.

  • County Jails: Oversight is conducted by the county South Carolina Sheriff’s Office, with records held by the county clerk.
  • City Jails: These are typically holding cells as offenders await transfer to a county jail or a state prison. Individuals cycle through city jails relatively quickly, and the facilities are managed by the city police departments.
  • Juvenile Detention Centers: These are reserved for minors facing charges or accusations of delinquent acts. They are managed by the Department of Juvenile Justice.
  • Community Workforce Centers: Offenders located here serve time often in lieu of a prison sentence and often are on probation. They might also have a classification of Minimum-Out (MO) at the state level. These locations are designed to help offenders transition back into everyday society.

Prisons, on the other hand, serve as long-term correctional facilities for those serving sentences lasting longer than one year, and there are 21 of them throughout the state. Those who are incarcerated in a South Carolina prison have already undergone a trial and have been convicted of some type of felony. Their sentence has been dictated by a county or state court, necessitating a facility adequately equipped to manage prolonged stays.

The South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC) oversees all prisons at the state level. Information is limited to current inmates only, not those with a released status, housed in a county jail or under other community supervision. The four types of state prisons are as follows:

  • Close Security (CL): This is the highest level of security for violent offenders or those who demonstrate behavioral issues. Movement is highly restricted.
  • Medium Security (ME): Single fence perimeters and electronic surveillance categorize these facilities, and they offer a step up in security for offenders deemed to be at a higher risk for causing potential trouble.
  • Minimum-In Security (MI): This is for nonviolent inmates with relatively short sentences or who are fulfilling a small amount of time left to serve.
  • Minimum-Out Security (MO): Inmates housed here are typically at community-based work centers and enrolled in rehabilitation programs prior to being reintroduced into regular society again.

There are also four federal prisons operating in the state. These prisons hold inmates who have committed federal crimes, and they are overseen by the Southeast Regional Office, which represents seven states in the southeastern corner of the United States, including Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.2

At a national level, these facilities fall under the remit of the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

How To Look Up Information on Any South Carolina Jail Inmate for Free

Each county or municipal jail in South Carolina maintains a jail roster or inmate list with records available to the public. Parties can often perform a free inmate search using just a name or an offender’s identification number.

Arrest and criminal records are also available to the public, and any of this information is accessible by contacting the county jail in the jurisdiction where an offender lives or was sentenced.

For example, Columbia is the capital of South Carolina, and while the city itself doesn’t have an online search feature, the city of Columbia’s website offers a wide variety of services for users looking for information on criminal activity and seeking records on file with local law enforcement.

There are 46 counties in South Carolina, with Greenville being the most populous, followed by Richland and Charleston counties. Inmate populations change frequently, so online records might not reflect the most up-to-date information. It’s always wise to also reach out to local law enforcement or the clerk of records to officially validate the results.

Greenville County has an Online Inmate Search with fields available for only the first and last names.3 It’s possible to search with only a surname, although providing a first name too helps narrow down the results. The results page shows the inmate’s full name, booking date and age. Clicking on a name shows additional information, including a description and photograph of the inmate.

A screenshot from Greenville County detailing a mugshot, ID number, personal characteristics like gender, race, and physical attributes, as well as their charge information, holding details, and judicial data.
Source: Greenville County Sheriff’s Office3

In Charleston County, the Sheriff Al Cannon Detention Center offers an Inmate Records Search Portal, which is searchable by first or last name, booking date and inmate number.4

It’s possible to search for both current and past inmates. The results page shows a list of inmates matching the details provided, their gender, race and the date and time they were booked. Clicking on a result expands that row of the table to show details about the offense committed, and a photo of the offender.

A screenshot from the Charleston County Sheriff's Office detailing a mugshot, personal details like age, height, and weight, and specific charge details such as charge numbers, warrant numbers, bond amounts, and descriptions of the charges.
Source: Charleston County Sheriff’s Office4

If the online search does not yield the desired information, it’s advantageous to fill out the online form available through the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office website, or alternatively, visit them in person at the address provided below:

Charleston County Sheriff’s Office
3691 Leeds Avenue
North Charleston, South Carolina 29405

Phone: (843)554-2450

Richland County operates the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center and provides information about inmates along with details, giving those who wish to visit or get in touch with an inmate the procedures and policies to follow. Users can contact the center at the following address:

Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center
201 John Mark Dial Drive
Columbia, SC 29209

Phone: 803-576-3200

Inmate records can also be accessed through the South Carolina criminal and arrest records. The resource provides compilation of available custodians, online tools, addresses and contact numbers for every county jail, ensuring a thorough search.

How To Conduct a Free South Carolina Inmate Search (State Prisons)

At the state level, the South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC) provides an Online Offender Search Tool for all inmate searches.5 The tool covers state prisons, and searches can be done using:

  • Name (First & Last)
  • SCDC Identification Number
  • SID (State ID)

An additional option to toggle on a phonetic search will produce a list of results containing names that sound similar to the information entered. When a record of interest is found, click on it to reveal more information and details, including the reason the offender was incarcerated, where they are held, and records of their conduct while in prison.

A screenshot from the South Carolina Department of Corrections detailing a mugshot, personal description, sentence information, and offense details, including sentence type, duration, and identification numbers.
Source: South Carolina Department of Corrections5

South Carolina has a high level of incarcerated citizens when compared to the national average, and there are measures in place to improve the overall landscape of correctional facilities throughout the state.

The Prison Policy website gives important facts and figures related to incarcerated individuals in South Carolina, but here are some other resources that might prove useful as well:6

These resources can help those with incarcerated friends or family members better understand how the probation and parole system works, visitation options, how to find information about criminal records, and how to get support if you’ve been a victim of crime.

How To Find Inmates in Federal Prison

In addition to the city, county and state options for finding inmates in South Carolina, the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) Inmate Locator Tool is where users can search by ID number or name.7

ID options include BOP Register, District of Columbia Department of Corrections (DCDC), Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and inmate number. The name search also includes race, age and sex.

A screenshot from the Federal Bureau of Prisons detailing first and last names, register number, age, race, sex, release date, and location.
Source: Federal Bureau of Prisons7

Results from a search yield a detailed inmate record, including the name, register number, age, race, sex, release date (if known) and location status (released or prison name). For more details pertaining to the designated inmate, click on the record result.

Currently, the BOP has all federal prisoners from 1982 to the present on file. To find information on federal prisoners incarcerated and released prior to that, visit the National Archives Records Administration (NARA).

The Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) site may also contain some of these older federal court cases. There is a small fee for conducting searches on PACER, but financial support may be available for some eligible individuals.8

Methods and resources for finding current inmates are constantly improving and changing, but with the right tools, you can perform your South Carolina inmate search seamlessly.


1National Institute of Corrections. (2021). South Carolina 2021. Retrieved March 18, 2024, from <>

2Southeast Crescent Regional Commission. (n.d.). SCRC Authorization Statute. Retrieved March 18, 2024, from <>

3Greenville County, South Carolina. (2024). Search for Incarcerated Inmates. Retrieved March 18, 2024, from <>

4Charleston County Sheriff’s Office. (2024). Search for Current Inmates. Retrieved March 18, 2024, from <>

5South Carolina Department of Corrections. (2024). Incarcerated Inmate Search. Retrieved March 18, 2024, from <>

6Prison Policy Initiative. (n.d.). South Carolina profile. Retrieved March 18, 2024, from <>

7Federal Bureau of Prisons. (2024). Find an inmate. Retrieved March 18, 2024, from <>

8Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER). (n.d.). PACER Pricing: How fees work. Retrieved March 18, 2024, from <>