In the US, criminal and inmate records are compiled and updated on local, state, and federal levels by various law enforcement and corrections agencies. The purpose of criminal and inmate records is to present a comprehensive criminal history and they may be accessed for many purposes. Criminal records are used by employers, organizations and by the government to determine eligibility for jobs, licenses, credit, voting and much more.
Inmate records have a wide range of uses including corroborating alibi, locating loved ones, tracking incarceration status as well as issues of parole, sentence and inmate status.
Other relevant areas of interest in this topic category include:
- Police and Sheriffs Organizations
- Sex Offenders
- Crime Stoppers and Other Tip-lines
- Amber Alerts
- Most Wanted Lists
- Missing Persons
- Cyber Crimes
- Neighborhood Watch Organizations
U.S. Law Enforcement Statistics
According to the DOJ Records, there were more than 800,000 full-time sworn law enforcement officers in the United States .
Type of Agency***, # of Agencies, # of Full Time Sworn Officers
All State and local, 17,876, 731,903
Local police , 12,766, 446,974
Sheriff, 3,067, 175,018
Primary State, 49, 58,190
Special jurisdiction**, 1,481, 49,398
Constable/Marshal, 513, 2,323
Federal*, , 104,884
*Non-military federal officers authorized to carry firearms and make arrests.
**Includes both State and local level agencies.
***Agency counts exclude those operating on a part-time basis.
For information about specific agencies, please see the appropriate state page.
According to DOJ Statistics, there were nearly 2 and a half million prisoners incarcerated in US facilities during 2008. That is up 8/10 of 1% from the previous year, but proportionally fewer more than the previous 7 years. Over half of those were convicted of crimes at the state level.
The statistics also show that men are over 10 times likelier than women to commit crimes and become incarcerated as a result. That ratio is roughly (w)1.16:(m)14.95
For information on specific Prisons as well as inmate searches, see the appropriate state page here at AFR.
Law Enforcement Agencies
Law Enforcement is executed at the local level by our city and state police organizations as well as by the county sheriff's offices. These local agencies will likely have multiple divisions within that specialize in the various aspects of law enforcement, such as domestic violence, sex crimes, cybercrimes, homicide, robbery/ theft, etc as well as programs and services to create awareness as well as prevention (like D.A.R.E). For information on these agencies in your area, see the related AFR state pages.
Federally, law enforcement is carried out by the various agencies under the Department of Justice. These include:
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
- Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
- Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)
- Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD)
Specific Information for these agencies in your area will be located on the relevant state page as available.