Most states publish prison mug shots for free within online databases support by the state's Department of Corrections. Individuals who want to obtain an arrest image of themselves can formally request the image at the jail where booking took place.
State websites featuring mug shots require some Internet searching for users. For example, mug shots may be listed under an inmate search or titled as an offender search. Users can also search through an inmate population search to locate mug shots, arrest records, sentencing and the location of the prisoner. In most cases, users need to search by last name, date of incarceration or by specific offense that led to imprisonment.
Commercial websites such as FreeBackgroundCheck.org post mug shots and arrest records, too. For example, individuals can search by state or by an inmate's name or date of arrest for state records. Federal mug shots may not be available online for free, as images are often considered property of the Federal government. Information about prisoners or offenders, though, can be located using the Federal Bureau of Prisons Inmate locator online.
In some cases, mug shots may not be released for free in-person or online if an investigation regarding the offense is still ongoing. Some arrests do not warrant the need for a mug shot and may be unavailable, too.