Introduction to the Texas Criminal Justice System

There is a saying that everything is bigger in Texas, and this holds true for the criminal justice system. Ranking second in area (after Alaska) and second in population (after California), it is understandable that Texas would have a large number of jails and prisons. It boasts the largest number of law enforcement agencies of any state, the largest number of counties (and thus the most sheriffs), and the largest prison system in the country.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice manages the state prison system, as well as private correctional facilities, 15 state jails, numerous transfer and pre-release facilities, and a host of other specialized units. The department even has its own school district, which offers adult basic education, GED courses, vocational programs, and college classes to qualifying inmates. The state jails are used to hold inmates convicted of lower level assault and drug, family, and property crimes, or to house felons awaiting transfer to a prison. State jail prisoners are held between 75 days and two years, and may not be paroled or have mandatory supervision release from a jail facility. The state jails are broken down into six regions. The Travis County Unit for example is in Region IV. The Department also operates three psychiatric units. To locate a prisoner in a state facility, see Information for Families on the Department’s website, and use the Offender Search tool. This will give you the inmate’s location, list of offenses, and projected release date. On the family page, you will also find a great deal of other information including rules on visitation and details about the offender telephone system, parole, rehabilitation programs, commissaries, sending an inmate money, and reentry programs. The complete Offender Orientation Handbook is available in both English and Spanish on the website.

Each of the 254 counties in Texas has a jail, and some of the more densely populated counties have several facilities. To find information about a county jail in order to locate an offender, see the page for that specific county on this website, or visit the directory of the Sheriff’s Association of Texas. The Public Information Act of the state gives residents the right to inspect or copy information maintained by any governmental body, such a sheriff’s office, so a written request for public information must be honored. This does not, however, apply to court records. Some court records are public and may be accessed through the county or circuit court clerk, but not all court records are available. Each request for records is considered on a case by case basis.

You can find some court information, as well as other information on an inmate, through VINELink, a victim notification service. A search will yield the offender’s case ID and status, age, race, and location where he or she is being held, along with contact information for the facility. This site is especially helpful in finding an inmate if you know only that they are somewhere in the state. You can sign up to be notified when the inmate’s status changes. VINELink offers email, phone, text, and TTY notification.

The type of visitation available for inmates varies widely from rural counties to urban areas in Texas. Some jails offer onsite or remote video visitation; some have only face-to-face visitation. General rules for visitation include bringing a photo ID, showing up on time if you have a scheduled visit, no contraband items, and appropriate dress (no revealing, offensive, or provocative clothing). Check with the specific facility for more information before attempting to visit an inmate. In many cases, an appointment must be scheduled at least 24 hours in advance.


Q: Can I discover arrest records of those on a jail roster?
A: Yes. Each offender search includes a record of arrest history and details.

Q. How quickly can I view the reports?
A: Reports are generated immediately and available for view on your computer. There is no waiting period of documents sent through the mail. You will have the option to download and print any online reports.

Q: How can I remove offense on my record?
A: You will want to inquire with your local sheriff’s department or court house. Lawyers and Parole Officers may also be able to help you.

Q: What resources are available to look up active warrants?
A: To look up active warrants you don’t want to use the jail roster search. A local county run website could have this information but instead you should call you local sheriff’s office or visit to ask if you have an active warrant.

Q: How do I beat speeding tickets?
A: You need to determine your speed and thoroughly review the citation before putting together your defense strategy. On the citation the officer will indicate if your speed was documented with a radar gun or estimate. Naturally when its an estimation you can fight the ticket more easily. If not you need to go back to the scene and look for speed limit signs. If you can make the case there were no signs in the area you should select appeal when sending back the citation and show up at the courthouse with your documents.

Services Provided

Lookup Inmates on Jail Rosters in County Jails and Offenders incarcerated in Texas. Search for sheriff bookings, jail inmates, and individuals on the jails rosters of county jails. is offered for the convenience and safety of the general public. Arrest and jail information is updated when it becomes available from local databases.

  • -Offense
  • -Charges
  • -Disposition
  • -Bond Amount
  • -Bondsman
  • -Arrest Date
  • -Release Date
  • -Arrest Number
  • -Physical Description
  • -Fines
  • -Mugshot


There are 177 County Jails in Texas

The obvious place to go to check on inmates and browse the roster is the county jail or state facility in Texas. Their jail database shows the state’s most wanted persons with warrants, arrest history and more. You’ll be able to obtain access to active warrants issued against any inmate.
You can use the search form above to carry out a full Texas Arrest and Inmate history search, and for a small fee you will get up to the minute results right after the search is done. All of that from your computer in your home while remaining anonymous.