To search for an inmate in a particular state, use that particular state's inmate search service, unless the inmate in question is in federal prison. For example, the state of New York lets the public search for an inmate by name, Department Identification Number or New York State Identification Number.
You may not be able to find an individual committed to federal prison through the state system even if the individual is physically in that state. The Federal Bureau of Prisons manages federal inmates and offers the public a search tool that finds inmates based on BOP register number, District of Columbia Department of Corrections number, FBI number, Citizenship and Immigration Services number or name. As of 2015, the earliest available federal prison records begin in the year 1982.
U.S. states generally have slightly different criteria for allowing the public to search for inmates. In the state of Florida, you must use the inmates Department of Corrections number to search for an inmate. The Florida DOC provides a list of other state corrections websites that the public may use to find inmates incarcerated in other states. It also clarifies that inmates currently serving parole or probation have no corresponding entry in its database.