Free Illinois Arrest & Criminal Records (Check Every IL County)

Free Illinois Arrest Records & Criminal Records Search
Access Illinois Records: background checks, warrants, probation and parole, court records, and all criminal and arrest records.

Running a free Illinois arrest and criminal records check for every IL county can be done right now and has never been easier. Search public record databases today with their full name and uncover details about any person’s past.

Illinois criminal records can be cumbersome to access since there are so many record-keeping agencies, so this resource streamlines the process of accessing public information on anyone in Illinois, where to look for those records, and how they can be used.

This resource empowers readers with the knowledge, skills, and tools necessary to know how to:

  • Find Illinois recent arrests, mugshots, the reason for arrests, bail details
  • Review criminal records, obtain copies, and begin the expunge or sealing process
  • Check for warrants in Illinois
  • Find Illinois state prisoners and federal prisoners, too
  • Locate sex offenders in Illinois neighborhoods
  • Perform an Illinois background check
  • Interpret laws surrounding Illinois state records, public records and antidiscrimination

Which Illinois Criminal & Arrest Records Are Open to the Public?

When searching records in Illinois, it’s important to know which ones are considered public records, and what restrictions are placed on disclosure. Not all records can be viewed by the general public, and how records are released to the public, and which ones can be released, is outlined in state law.

Under the state’s Freedom of Information Act, 5 ILCS 140, Illinois criminal records are considered public records and can be viewed by anyone. The act provides the public with guidance on what records can be accessed and how to make a request.

Arrest records in Illinois are also included under the state’s Freedom of Information Act guidance, making them public records accessible to anyone upon request and allowing law enforcement agencies to publish certain details about arrests if the agency wishes to do so.

The state FOIA law further requires that arrest records be made available to the media when an arrest is made and must include the following data:

  • Identify the person arrested (name, age, description, address and a photo when available)
  • Charges filed against the person
  • Date, time and location of the arrest
  • Law enforcement agency that made the arrest
  • The jail where the person is being held pending trial1

Certain criminal or arrest records are not considered public including juvenile delinquency records, matters that have been sealed or expunged, or those that are otherwise restricted by the courts or state law (such as investigative reports while a case is still be adjudicated or information that identifies witnesses, victims or confidential informants).2

These records will not appear on daily arrest reports. In addition, per 20 ILCS 2635, certified or official background checks can only reveal convictions, not non-convictions, on any records requested by the public for adult criminal history.

Understanding the difference between an arrest record and a criminal history helps hiring managers, landlords or licensing boards make decisions on candidate applications.

Illinois Criminal Records vs Arrest Records: Differences Between Each Type

Arrest records in Illinois reveal that a person was taken into custody by law enforcement, housed in a detention facility until bonded out or until trial and that the person was accused of committing a criminal offense. Arrest records do not show anything beyond the initial law enforcement contact with the suspect.

It is not a record of disposition, so an arrest record is only a portion of an overall criminal history. Because Illinois law prohibits background checks from placing non-conviction information on a report, an arrest may not even show up until there is a disposition against the defendant.3

Arrest records are public records and can be requested by anyone, but they are only one part of the total Illinois criminal history. Illinois criminal records show all the data included in an arrest record plus what happened with the case in court, and if there is a non-conviction, such as a dismissal or acquittal, the matter will not appear on an official criminal history report.

Only convictions for misdemeanor or felony offenses become part of the public criminal record report.

This distinction between the two types of records is why agencies or businesses are advised against using just arrest records to make hiring decisions and are provided guidance from state and federal sources, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, on the use of criminal history when onboarding new staff.

An arrest record may be how to find out what someone was arrested for, but it may not show what they were convicted of. More about the laws surrounding background checks in Illinois can be found further below.

How To Search Recent Arrests & Learn Why Someone Is in Jail in Illinois (Free)

When a person is taken into custody, people will wonder why they were arrested, or someone may want to know if a person they know has been arrested and where they are being held. Others may just be curious to see who’s in jail in their area and why someone is in jail.

Doing a jail inmate search is also how to find out someone’s charges in jail. Searching arrest records in Illinois should start with the local sheriff’s office, which usually maintains the county jail.

Even when the county agency is not the arresting agency, it is best practice to start with the county sheriff’s department for an inmate search instead of the local police department. For the searcher’s convenience, we have included a table below that lists the county sheriff’s offices, links to pages (where available), and information on whether the page has an inmate search tool and shows a mugshot.

Review County Arrest Records in Illinois (IL Mugshots & Inmate Search Methods)

Using the table we’ve provided here, searchers can try to find out if a person in their area is in jail or how to find recent arrests. Each listing provides a non-emergency contact number to make jail inquiries.

Individuals can also search using VINELink, which is the only approved third-party vendor for maintaining jail records for Illinois jails and can help someone find recent arrests.

A screenshot of list categorizing the current inmate population of Adams County jail into pods A to D, including separate sections for those in work release and holding, with a total population of 123.
Source: Adams County Jail Population Sheet20

The table below lists all Illinois county sheriff’s offices with contact information:

Illinois County Inmate Search Tool County Jail or Sheriff’s Office Phone Number Contains Mugshot Database?
Adams County Sheriff’s Office 217-277-2202 X
Alexander County Sheriff’s Office* 618-734-2141 X
Bond County Sheriff’s Office* 618-664-2151 X
Boone County Corrections and County Jail* 815-547-6203 X
Brown County Sheriff’s Office* 217-773-2011 X
Bureau County Sheriff’s Office* 815-875-3344 X
Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office** 618-576-9041 X
Carroll County Sheriff’s Office* 815-244-0265 X
Cass County Sheriff’s Office* 217-452-7718 X
Champaign County Sheriff’s Office 217-384-1240 X
Christian County Sheriff’s Office* 217-824-4961 X
Clark County Sheriff’s Office* 217-826-6393 X
Clay County Sheriff’s Office* 618-665-3316 X
Clinton County Sheriff’s Office* 618-594-4556 X
Coles County Sheriff’s Office 217-348-0585 X
Cook County Sheriff’s Office 773-674-5245
Crawford County Sheriff’s Office 618-546-1515
Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office* 217-849-2571 X
DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office* 815-895-4177 X
DeWitt County Sheriff’s Office* 217-935-2913 X
Douglas County Sheriff’s Office* 217-253-2913 X
DuPage County Sheriff’s Office 630-682-7256
Edgar County Sheriff’s Office* 217-465-4166 X
Edwards County Sheriff’s Office* 618-445-2721 X
Effingham County Sheriff’s Office+ 217-342-2101 X
Fayette County Sheriff’s Office* 618-283-2141 X
Ford County Sheriff’s Office* 217-379-2324 X
Franklin County Sheriff’s Office* 618-438-4841 X
Fulton County Sheriff’s Office* 309-547-2277 X
Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office* 618-269-3137 X
Greene County Sheriff’s Office** 217-942-6901 X
Grundy County Sheriff’s Office* 815-941-3243 X
Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office* 618-643-2511 X
Hancock County Sheriff’s Office* 217-357-2115 X
Hardin County Sheriff’s Office* 618-287-2271 X
Henderson County Sheriff’s Office** 309-867-4291 X
Henry County Sheriff’s Office* 309-937-3940 X
Iroquois County Sheriff’s Office* 815-432-6970 X
Jackson County Sheriff’s Office* 618-684-2177 X
Jasper County Sheriff’s Office (Richland County)++ 618-783-3462
Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office*** 618-244-8004
Jersey County Sheriff’s Office* 618-498-6881 X
Jo Daviess County Sheriff’s Office* 815-777-2141 X
Johnson County Sheriff’s Office** 618-658-8264 X
Kane County Sheriff’s Office 630-232-6840
Kankakee County Sheriff’s Office* 815-802-7200 X
Kendall County Sheriff’s Office 630-553-7500
Knox County Sheriff’s Office*** 309-343-9151 X
Lake County Sheriff’s Office 847-377-4188
LaSalle County Sheriff’s Office 815-433-2161
Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office 618-943-1693, Option 2
Lee County Sheriff’s Office* 815-284-5222 X
Livingston County Sheriff’s Office* 815-844-5774 X
Logan County Sheriff’s Office* 217-732–2156 X
Macon County Sheriff’s Office 217-424-1341
Macoupin County Sheriff’s Office* 217-854-3135
Madison County Sheriff’s Office* 618-692-1064 X
Marion County Sheriff’s Office* 618-548-2141 X
Marshall County Sheriff’s Office* 309-246-2115 X
Mason County Sheriff’s Office* 309-543-2231 X
Massac County Sheriff’s Office* 618-524-2912 X
McDonough County Sheriff’s Office* 309-833-5245 X
McHenry County Sheriff’s Office 815-338-9396
McLean County Sheriff’s Office* 309-888-5034 X
Menard County Sheriff’s Office* 217-632-2273 X
Mercer County Sheriff’s Office* 309-582-5020 X
Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office* 217-532-9514 X
Monroe County Sheriff’s Office* 618-939-8651 X
Morgan County Sheriff’s Office* 217-243-6123 X
Moultrie County Sheriff’s Office* 217-728-4386 X
Ogle County Sheriff’s Office+ 815-732-2135 X
Peoria County Sheriff’s Office* 309-697-8515 X
Perry County Sheriff’s Office* 618-357-5212 X
Piatt County Sheriff’s Office* 217-762-5761 X
Pike County Sheriff’s Office 217-285-5011 X
Pope County Sheriff’s Office** 618-683-4321 X
Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office* 618-748-9374 X
Putnam County Sheriff’s Office* 815-925-7015 X
Randolph County Sheriff’s Office 618-826-5484
Richland County Sheriff’s Office 618-395-7483
Rock Island County Sheriff’s Office* 309-794-1230 X
Saline County Sheriff’s Office* 618-252-8661 X
Sangamon County Sheriff’s Office 217-753-6855
Schuyler County Sheriff’s Office 217-322-4366
Scott County Sheriff’s Office 563-326-8625
Shelby County Sheriff’s Office* 217-774-3941 X
St Clair County Sheriff’s Office 618-207-4374
Stark County Sheriff’s Office* 309-286-2541 X
Stephenson County Sheriff’s Office 815-235-8290
Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office 309-346-4141 X
Union County Sheriff’s Office* 618-833-5500 X
Vermillion County Sheriff’s Office* 217-442-4080 X
Wabash County Sheriff’s Office 618-262-5531
Warren County Sheriff’s Office* 309-734-8506 X
Washington County Sheriff’s Office* 618-327-8247, extension 3 X
Wayne County Sheriff’s Office** 618-842-6631 X
White County Sheriff’s Office+++ 618-382-7149 X
Whiteside County Sheriff’s Office* 815-772-5203 X
Will County Sheriff’s Office 815-727-8575 X
Williamson County Sheriff’s Office+ 618-997-6541 X
Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office 815-319-6600
Woodford County Sheriff’s Office* 309-467-2375 X

*County does not public inmate list
**The agency does not have a working website at this time
*** The agency uses a mobile app to display the inmate roster/list
+Agency uses VINELink for inmate inquiries
++Sheriff’s Office uses neighboring county to house inmates
+++Inmate Roster is for internal use only/requires pre-authorization to access

In addition to the table above, searchers can do the steps below are how to find out if someone was arrested and see where someone in Illinois is being held as an inmate:

  1. Open a search engine on the computer, such as Google or Bing.
  2. Type Illinois [city or county of arrest] jail search.
  3. Review the list of search returns for the official agency website. While most government websites end in .gov or .us, local law enforcement agencies may have websites that have a different URL ending to the web address, such as .org, .net or .com.
  4. Click the link for the official website and look for a link titled inmate search, inmate lookup, or inmate roster (or a similar title).
  5. Follow the on-screen prompts to view the inmate listing. For example, if a name search must be conducted, enter the first and last name. If there is a full roster, review the roster to find the subject.
  6. If there is no link to search or view detainees, call the non-emergency number listed on the website to make an inquiry.
An illustration of the Tazewell County Sheriff's Office website display featuring a section for inmate look-up and custody information.
Source: Tazewell Dev21

For example, if someone wanted to search inmates at the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office would do the following:

  1. Google Illinois Tazewell County jail search.
  2. In the search returns, find and click the link for the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office inmate lookup page.
  3. Review the inmate roster to see if the subject of the search is listed.

Another clarifying example of what a county-level search may be like can be found in the St. Clair County arrest information lookup tutorial.

County sheriff’s departments are not the only agency that makes arrests, but they are usually the departments tasked with housing inmates even when taken into custody by city police. Learn more below about how to find inmates when arrested by city law enforcement.

How To Look Up Recent Arrests in Illinois’ City Jails

While county lockup is the first place to look when searching for arrest records, city law enforcement sometimes releases recent arrest records or maintains a city jail. This is usually in larger metropolitan areas with higher populations and higher crime.

A screenshot showing the search arrests results with information such as first name, last name, current age, first charge, inchoate, and arrest date.
Source: Chicago Police Department22

For example, the Chicago Police Department maintains an online portal for individuals to search for recent arrests. The information provided includes the person’s name, when and where the arrest was made, bond information, charges and a mugshot.

A screenshot showing the search arrests results with information such as first name, last name, current age, first charge, inchoate, and arrest date.
Source: Chicago Police Department22

There is also a section that lists the release date or where the person is being housed if they have not made a bond or had a hearing. This arrest report can be used to see why someone was taken into custody by Chicago PD.4

Aurora Police Department, however, does not list current arrests online, so to learn about where someone was taken after an arrest by Aurora PD, the searcher would need to call the police department’s non-emergency line at 630-256-5000 or search the jail in one of the four counties Aurora spans: DuPage, Kane, Kendall or Will Counties.5

Joliet, the third largest city in Illinois, also does not publish a list of arrestees by the Joliet Police Department, so searchers would need to check the county lockup in Will County to see if a Joliet PD arrestee is housed in that location.6

How To Run a Statewide Public Arrest Record Search in Illinois

While there is no statewide arrest records database, searchers can use the Illinois Court search engine to search all court filings and see if the filings show an arrest warrant has been issued in a case. This requires clicking each individual case filing for the subject to review details, which can take some time to complete.

The online database does require registration to access court records, but searchers are only charged when requesting official copies, not per search.7

The court search portal is one way to look up criminal records in the state since the courts are the official compilers of the overall criminal record, and searching these records is discussed further below. One of the primary reasons most people look for someone in jail is to find out how to get the person released or how to make contact.

How To Contact an IL Inmate & Post Bail

Finding out where a person is housed is key to making contact with the inmate and in finding out how much the person’s bond is and how to post bond/bail.

Using the search steps and table above for city and county law enforcement agencies, a person can locate where someone is being housed and learn about visitation, contact and bond from the agency website or by calling the non-emergency number listed in the table or on the agency’s homepage.

Each jail can set its own visitation schedules and the method of visitation (in person or via video), so it’s important to read all the information on visitation and contact the department’s website. If there is no working website, individuals can call the non-emergency number to learn more about visitation and contact.

A screenshot of the bail bond form with details to be filled out, such as the case number, name, address, city, bond set and type, amount of bail posted, offense, chapter, and section.
Source: McHenry County, Illinois Bail Bond Sheet23

For example, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office only accepts cash or cashier’s checks to post bail per the agency website, and the website informs family and friends posting bonds they must complete a bail bond form supplied by the circuit court for bonds under $10,000 and a source of bond information form for bonds over $10,000 as outlined on the agency website.8

Using the table of county sheriff’s offices above, searchers can reach out via the website or non-emergency number to learn about contacting inmates or posting bail at a particular facility.

Arrest records in Illinois are only one part of a person’s overall criminal history and occur at the beginning of building the individual’s court or criminal record. Below is more about how to use court records to build a more comprehensive criminal history on someone.

Find Out How To Look Up Criminal Records in Illinois

The Illinois Courts branch of government is responsible for receiving all criminal complaints filed in the circuit or jurisdiction where the arrest or charge was filed, scheduling a hearing or hearings, and maintaining a record of what happens in each case in that circuit. Each county has a circuit clerk of court that manages the court staff in that area.24

Victims, witnesses or the public in general want to know what happens when someone they know or someone who lives in their area is charged with a crime. To search criminal records through the court system, do the following steps:

  1. Open the Illinois Courts page.
  2. Hover the mouse over the services tab to see the drop-down menu.
  3. Click the link for the online state court record repository titled re:SearchIL. Take note that this is a .net site, not a .gov, but it is still the official state public records repository for court records.9
  4. Searchers must register to access the website. Registration is free and can be done as either the defendant seeing what shows up on his or her record or as the general public for those just seeking data in their area.
  5. Log into the registered account.
  6. Click the advanced search button on the page.
  7. Click the first search category section and select a party from the drop-down menu to do a name-based search.
  8. Enter the person’s first and last name and click the search button.
  9. A list of all cases with that party’s name will appear. Clicking the name at the top of each box will show details about the case.

While this will give information on cases statewide, sometimes searchers just need information from the local jurisdiction or courthouse. This can be done by going directly to the court and using a public terminal at the clerk’s office.

How To Run an Illinois Criminal Record Search Using the County Circuit Court Case Access

Here, we have included a list of each county’s circuit clerk of court. Information on court cases that are heard in that particular county can be found at the clerk’s office using one of the public terminals.

Requests for copies of court documents can also be made in person at the clerk’s office. Find the address and phone number for the local court in the table below:

Illinois County Circuit Clerk’s Office Address Phone Number
Adams County Circuit Clerk 521 Vermont St
Quincy, IL 62301-2934
Alexander County Circuit Clerk 2000 Washington
Cairo, IL 62914-1717
Bond County Circuit Clerk 200 W College
Greenville, IL 62246-1057
Boone County Circuit Clerk 601 N Main Number 303
Belvidere, IL 61008-2644
Brown County Circuit Clerk 200 Court St Rm 5
Mt. Sterling, IL 62353
217-773-2713, extension 2
Bureau County Circuit Clerk 700 S Main St
Princeton, IL 61356-2037
Calhoun County Circuit Clerk POB 486
Hardin, IL 62047-0486
Carroll County Circuit Clerk 301 N Main St
Mt. Carroll, IL 61053-0032
Cass County Circuit Clerk POB 203
Virginia, IL 62691-0203
Champaign County Circuit Clerk 101 E Main St
Urbana, IL 61801-2736
Christian County Circuit Clerk 101 S Main
Taylorville, IL 62568-0617
Clark County Circuit Clerk POB 187
Marshall, IL 62441-0187
Clay County Circuit Clerk 111 Chestnut
Louisville, IL 62858-0100
Clinton County Circuit Clerk 850 Fairfax Street
Carlyle, IL 62231
Coles County Circuit Clerk 651 Jackson Ave Rm 128
Charleston, IL 61920-0048
Cook County Circuit Clerk 50 West Washington Ste 1001
Chicago, IL 60602-1305
Crawford County Circuit Clerk POB 655
Robinson, IL 62454-0655
Cumberland County Circuit Clerk 1 Courthouse Sq Rm 107
Toledo, IL 62468-0145
DeKalb County Circuit Clerk 133 W State St
Sycamore, IL 60178-1416
DeWitt County Circuit Clerk 201 West Washington Street
Clinton,IL 61727-0439
Douglas County Circuit Clerk 401 S Center
Tuscola, IL 61953-0050
DuPage County Circuit Clerk POB 707
Wheaton, IL 60187-0707
Edgar County Circuit Clerk 115 W Court St
Paris, IL 61944-1739
Edwards County Circuit Clerk 50 E Main St Ste 7
Albion, IL 62806-1262
Effingham County Circuit Clerk 120 West Jefferson, Ste 101
Effingham, IL 62401-0586
Fayette County Circuit Clerk 221 S 7th St
Vandalia, IL 62471-2755
Ford County Circuit Clerk 200 W State
Paxton, IL 60957-0080
Franklin County Circuit Clerk POB 485
Benton, IL 62812-2264
Fulton County Circuit Clerk POB 152
Lewistown, IL 61542-0152
Gallatin County Circuit Clerk POB 249
Shawneetown, IL 62984-0249
Greene County Circuit Clerk 519 N Main St
Carrollton, IL 62016-1093
Grundy County Circuit Clerk POB 707
Morris, IL 60450-0707
Hamilton County Circuit Clerk 100 S Jackson St
McLeansboro, IL 62859-1490
Hancock County Circuit Clerk POB 189
Carthage, IL 62321-0189
Hardin County Circuit Clerk POB 308
Elizabethtown, IL 62931-0308
Henderson County Circuit Clerk POB 546
Oquawka, IL 61469-0546
Henry County Circuit Clerk 307 W Center St
Cambridge, IL 61238
Iroquois County Circuit Clerk 550 S 10th St
Watseka, IL 60970-1810
Jackson County Circuit Clerk POB 730
Murphysboro, IL 62966-0730
Jasper County Circuit Clerk 100 W Jourdan St
Newton, IL 62448-1973
Jefferson County Circuit Clerk POB 1266
Mt. Vernon, IL 62864-1266
Jersey County Circuit Clerk 201 W Pearl St
Jerseyville, IL 62052-1852
Jo Daviess County Circuit Clerk 330 N Bench St
Galena, IL 61036-1828
Johnson County Circuit Clerk 401 Court St Ste A
Vienna, IL 62995-0517
Kane County Circuit Clerk 540 South Randall Road
St. Charles, IL 60174
Kankakee County Circuit Clerk 450 E Court St
Kankakee, IL 60901-3917
Kendall County Circuit Clerk 807 W John St
Yorkville, IL 60560-0259
Knox County Circuit Clerk 200 S Cherry St
Galesburg, IL 61401-4912
Lake County Circuit Clerk 18 N County St
Waukegan, IL 60085-4340
LaSalle County Circuit Clerk 119 West Madison St Rm 201
Ottawa, IL 61350-0617
Lawrence County Circuit Clerk 1100 State St
Lawrenceville, IL 62439-2390
Lee County Circuit Clerk 309 South Galena Ste 320
Dixon, IL 61021-0325
Livingston County Circuit Clerk 110 North Main Street
Pontiac, IL 61764-0320
Logan County Circuit Clerk POB 158
Lincoln, IL 62656-0158
Macon County Circuit Clerk 253 E Wood St
Decatur, IL 62523-1489
Macoupin County Circuit Clerk POB 197
Carlinville, IL 62626-1824
Madison County Circuit Clerk 155 N Main St
Edwardsville, IL 62025-1955
Marion County Circuit Clerk 100 E Main St
Salem, IL 62881-0130
Marshall County Circuit Clerk 122 North Prairie
Lacon, IL 61540-0328
Mason County Circuit Clerk 125 N Plum
Havana, IL 62644-0377
Massac County Circuit Clerk 1 Superman Sq Rm 2-D
Metropolis, IL 62960
McDonough County Circuit Clerk Number 1 Courthouse Sq
Macomb, IL 61455-0348
McHenry County Circuit Clerk 2200 N Seminary Ave Rm 352
Woodstock, IL 60098-2837
McLean County Circuit Clerk 104 W Front St Rm 404
Bloomington, IL 61701-5005
Menard County Circuit Clerk 102 South 7th Street
Petersburg, IL 62675
Mercer County Circuit Clerk 100 SE 3rd St
Aledo, IL 61231-0175
Monroe County Circuit Clerk 100 S Main St Rm 115
Waterloo, IL 62298-1322
Montgomery County Circuit Clerk 120 North Main St Rm 125
Hillsboro, IL 62049-0210
Morgan County Circuit Clerk POB 1120
Jacksonville, IL 62650-1165
Moultrie County Circuit Clerk 10 S Main St Ste 7
Sullivan, IL 61951-1969
Ogle County Circuit Clerk 106 S 5th St Ste 300
Oregon, IL 61061-0337
Peoria County Circuit Clerk 324 Main St Rm G-22
Peoria, IL 61602-1319
Perry County Circuit Clerk POB 219
Pinckneyville, IL 62274-0219
Piatt County Circuit Clerk 101 W Washington Street
Monticello, IL 61856-0288
Pike County Circuit Clerk 100 E Washington
Pittsfield, IL 62363-1497
Pope County Circuit Clerk 310 E Main St
Golconda, IL 62938-0502
Pulaski County Circuit Clerk 500 Illinois Avenue
Mound City, IL 62963
Putnam County Circuit Clerk 120 N 4th St
Hennepin, IL 61327-0207
Randolph County Circuit Clerk Number 1 Taylor St Rm 302
Chester, IL 62233-0329
Richland County Circuit Clerk 103 West Main St Number 21
Olney, IL 62450-2170
Rock Island County Circuit Clerk POB 5230
Rock Island, IL 61201-5230
Saline County Circuit Clerk 10 E Poplar St
Harrisburg, IL 62946-1553
Sangamon County Circuit Clerk 200 S 9th St Rm 405
Springfield, IL 62701-1299
Schuyler County Circuit Clerk 102 South Congress Ste 103
Rushville, IL 62681
Scott County Circuit Clerk 35 E Market St
Winchester, IL 62694-1216
Shelby County Circuit Clerk POB 469
Shelbyville, IL 62565-0469
St Clair County Circuit Clerk 10 Public Sq
Belleville, IL 62220-1623
Stark County Circuit Clerk 130 W Main St
Toulon, IL 61483-0426
Stephenson County Circuit Clerk 15 N Galena Ave
Freeport, IL 61032-0785
Tazewell County Circuit Clerk 342 Court St
Pekin, IL 61554
Union County Circuit Clerk 309 W Market St, Room 101
Jonesboro, IL 62952
Vermillion County Circuit Clerk 7 N Vermilion Street
Danville, IL 61832-5806
Wabash County Circuit Clerk 401 Market St
Mount Carmel, IL 62863
Warren County Circuit Clerk 100 W Broadway
Monmouth, IL 61462-1795
Washington County Circuit Clerk 125 East Elm St
Nashville, IL 62263-1100
Wayne County Circuit Clerk 301 E Main St Ste 204
Fairfield, IL 62837-0096
White County Circuit Clerk POB 310
Carmi, IL 62821-0310
Whiteside County Circuit Clerk 200 E Knox St
Morrison, IL 61270-2819
Will County Circuit Clerk 14 W Jefferson St
Joliet, IL 60432-4399
Williamson County Circuit Clerk 200 WJefferson Ste 100
Marion, IL 62959-2494
Winnebago County Circuit Clerk 400 W State St Rm 100
Rockford, IL 61101-1221
Woodford County Circuit Clerk POB 284
Eureka, IL 61530-0284

Court records are considered public records and are one way to search a person’s criminal history, but official copies must be obtained through another state resource, the Illinois State Police Bureau of Identification and the process for accessing those records appears below.

Learn How To Get a Copy of Criminal Records in IL

The Illinois State Police is the official provider of certified employment or housing background checks in the state. Agencies or businesses must register with the state’s Division of Innovation and Technology for a digital ID to access records online.

To request a copy of a person’s criminal record through the Illinois State Police, do the following:

  1. Open the Illinois State Police (ISP) website.
  2. Click the link for CHIRP (Criminal History Information Response Process), which is the official online request portal.
  3. Register for a digital ID through the state. Once a digital ID has been issued, the searcher can request criminal records online.
  4. Once registered, log into the account and do a name-based search for criminal records.

The ISP prefers requests for background checks to be submitted through CHIRP or through the online Uniform Conviction Information Form.

A screenshot showing the Uniform Conviction Information Form requiring information such as first name, last name, city, email address, state, street address, zip code and country.
Source: Illinois State Police25

There is a slight fee per record for an official background check.

The subject must also be informed of the screening and give consent to the background check before the ISP will run this person’s history.

Individuals wishing to see their own Illinois criminal record can request a copy of it from any local state police department, correctional facility, or licensed vendor that can take the person’s fingerprints to run the record.10

How to check if someone has a criminal record helps with making decisions for housing, employment or personal reasons. Obtaining a person’s criminal record can show if the person was convicted of any misdemeanor or felony charges in the state and was placed in prison or received a sentence of probation (either supervised or unsupervised). Read below for more information about probation and parole.

How To Determine if Someone Is on Probation or Parole in Illinois

Probation and parole are forms of court-ordered supervision that occurs in the community rather than in a prison setting.

For reference, the following image displays the total number of probationers and parolees in Illinois and compares it with other states across the United States. Additionally, it showcases the ethnicities of individuals on community supervision in Illinois, including probation and parole.

An image showing the total number of probationers and parolees in Illinois and compares it with other states across the United States, and showcases the ethnicities of individuals on community supervision in Illinois, including probation and parole.
Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics

To see who is on probation in Illinois, do the following steps:

  1. Open the Illinois Courts Probation Services Division website.
  2. Searchers will note there is no online link for probationer searches on the website. To learn someone’s probation status, a person will need to search a person’s court records through the Illinois Court System Services statewide records repository link, which requires registration.
A screenshot of Illinois Probation Services Division homepage, where various services and information such as data and research, field operations, and juvenile detention, among others, are represented through symbols and colors.
Source: Illinois Probation26

There are 24 circuit court districts in Illinois, plus Cook County, which is a separate district; further information on how to look up Cook County probationers can be reviewed through our Cook County public records resource, along with instructions on retrieving various other record types through official county agencies.

The table below lists the phone number for each county office within each district for adult probation information:

Judicial District Counties Serviced with Contact Number
First Circuit
Second Circuit
Third Circuit
Fourth Circuit
Fifth Circuit
Sixth Circuit
Seventh Circuit
Eighth Circuit
Ninth Circuit
Tenth Circuit
Eleventh Circuit
Twelfth Circuit
Thirteenth Circuit
Fourteenth Circuit
Fifteenth Circuit
Sixteenth Circuit
Seventeenth Circuit
Eighteenth Circuit
Nineteenth Circuit
Twentieth Circuit
Twenty-first Circuit
Twenty-second Circuit
Twenty-third Circuit
Twenty-fourth Circuit
Cook County Circuit

Parole records are different from probation. Parole is a form of community supervision afforded to inmates in state prisons who are released early for a variety of reasons, most of which are showing signs of rehabilitation. Parole supervision falls under the control of the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC).

To search parolee databases in Illinois, complete the following steps:

  1. Open the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) website search portal at the top of the list.
  2. Click the circle to do a search by last name.
  3. Key in the subject’s last name and click the find button.
  4. Review the list of search returns to find the record for the subject. Click on that record to view details.
  5. In the section that shows offender status, if the person is on parole, the record will note parole. Further down, the date the person was released from prison on parole will be listed along with the date the person will be released from community supervision.

Parole records also show where the person was previously incarcerated, the charges that resulted in a prison sentence, and a physical description of the person, along with a mugshot.11

Even though parole is early release from prison, it doesn’t automatically drop off a person’s record just because they were released before the end of their active sentence. These records are not how to find out if someone is in jail. Matters that have not been sealed or expunged will continue to appear on a record, as discussed next.

How To Seal or Expunge a Criminal Record in Illinois

Sealing or expunging a record removes it from public view, meaning it cannot and should not appear on a criminal background check. The process to seal or expunge a record in Illinois is listed below:

  1. Open a search engine online, such as Google.
  2. Type steps to seal or expunge cases in Illinois.
  3. Look for the official state agency website that handles sealing and expunging cases. In this search, it is the Illinois Office of the State Appellate Defender website.
  4. On the website, find the correct expungement form and click the link for that form. Available forms include juvenile, adult, and cannabis forms.
  5. Clicking the link will provide details on how to complete and file the form. Download and complete the correct form or forms.
  6. File the forms in the circuit court where the disposition was entered in the charges on the record in person at the courthouse or via e-file online at the Illinois Courts website.
  7. The circuit clerk will submit notice of the petition to expunge to the district attorney and city or town counsel/attorney where the arrest occurred, the agency that made the arrest or filed the charges, and the Illinois State Police in the event one of these agents wishes to file a counter to the petition.
  8. If there is no objection, the court can enter the expungement without a hearing. If there is an objection, a hearing will be scheduled.
  9. The court will make the final decision on the petition. If expungement is granted, the agencies involved will be notified of the decision, and the record will be disposed of as outlined in the court’s order.12
A screenshot showing the request to expunge juvenile records with details to be filled in, such as name, date of birth and case numbers, from the State of Illinois Circuit Court website.
Source: State of Illinois Circuit Court27

Sealing or expunging cases is dependent on whether the offense meets the necessary criteria or not.28 The following cases can be expunged in Illinois:

  • Individuals arrested and then released with charges never formally filed,
  • Cases that have been dismissed,
  • Situations where the defendant was acquitted,
  • In cases where the courts find no probable cause to proceed,
  • Any convictions where the disposition was reversed or vacated,
  • Most misdemeanor or felony convictions.13

Convictions that are not eligible for expungement or sealing include:

  • DUI
  • Reckless driving, driver over 25 years old at the time of offense
  • Traffic infractions or minor offenses
  • Domestic battery
  • Battery of an unborn child
  • Violation of a protective order
  • Any sex offenses or matters that require sex offender registry
  • Public indecency charges
  • Dog fighting convictions
  • Animal neglect13

Sealing or expunging a record gives the subject a better chance at securing employment or housing where a criminal record may have been a barrier.29 Even if the person served a term in prison, if all conditions have been met, the individual can petition the court to seal or expunge the record, and how to find out if someone is in prison in Illinois is outlined below.

Finding Illinois State Prisoners & Federal Offenders

Citizens in Illinois may be curious about who is in prison in their state or want to find out if a person they testified against or the person who committed a crime against them is still in prison.

There are five federal prisons in Illinois and 43 state institutions. To search federal inmates in Illinois, do the following:

  1. Open the Federal Bureau of Prison BOP search portal.
  2. Enter the subject’s name. Race, sex and age can also be added when available and click search at the bottom.
  3. Review the list of search results to find the records that match the subject. If the person is still in federal custody, the search results will show the location beside the section labeled: Located At.
A screenshot of Federal Bureau of Prisons displaying the "Find an Inmate" page.
Source: Federal Bureau of Prisons30

Federal prisoners only make up a small portion of overall prisoners in Illinois. Most people placed in custody are convicted of violating state laws and placed in a state-maintained correctional facility.

To search for a state correctional inmate, do the following:

  1. Open the Illinois Department of Corrections website.
  2. Hover the mouse over the section titled Individuals in Custody, and choose the individual in custody link from the drop-down menu.
  3. Check the circle to conduct the search by last name.
  4. Enter the subject’s last name in the search box and click the find button.
  5. Scroll through the list of search returns to find the records that match the search subject.
  6. Highlight the records to be reviewed and click the button at the bottom labeled Query a Highlighted Inmate to see details.
A screenshot of Illinois Department of Corrections' website displaying the "Individual in Custody Search" page.
Source: IDOC31

Details will show a mugshot of the inmate, a physical description, convictions, where the inmate is located, projected parole date, projected release date, and the total length of the sentence imposed.14

A screenshot showing the individual in custody search results from the IDOC website displays information such as complete name and date of birth.
Source: IDOC31

Prison is usually the last part of a person’s sentencing unless the individual is released on parole. For those who serve out their term, once released, they are no longer under any type of condition unless they are required to register as a sex offender, which will be discussed later in the article.

Cases typically start with the issuance of a warrant, which will be discussed in detail below.

Run an Illinois Warrant Search To See if You or Someone Else Is Wanted

People want to check if there is a warrant out for their arrest in Illinois or verify if friends or family are wanted by the police. Warrants are generally considered public records in the state, but there is no centralized state warrant database that can be reviewed.

Instead, individuals need to check with the local law enforcement agency where they live or work to see if warrants have been issued.

Many agencies will publish a list online of active warrants and encourage those with a warrant to turn themselves in and resolve the matter. To search for warrants in a specific area, do the following:

Using the steps and table above on how to locate an inmate is also how to find out about posting bail or visitation/contact with an inmate at the facility where the person is housed. The agency may publish a most wanted list or a warrant roster, or the agency may not include warrant data on the webpage at all.

For example, someone in Lake County, when searching for warrants in that area, the searcher will type Illinois Lake County warrants, and the official site would be the Lake County Sheriff’s Office website. From this website, searchers can review a PDF file of all the active warrants in that county.

The warrant list has the individual’s name, last known address, age, sex, race, date of birth, height, weight, hair and eye color, and when the warrant was issued.15

A screenshot showing the active warrant list displaying information such as last name, first name, address, middle name, age, sex, date born, height, weight, date issued, hair and eye color.
Source: Lake County, IL Sherrif’s Office32

The Chicago Police Department also publishes a list of active warrants on the agency’s website. In addition to the information listed in the Lake County list, Chicago PD also includes the crime the person is accused of committing and a mugshot of the alleged offender; however, a search of CPD’s website shows that many warrant lists have not been updated in a few years.16

If someone suspects they have a warrant out for their arrest, they can hire an attorney to help them find out if a warrant has been issued. The attorney can also help the person surrender to the police and work toward getting bail issued quickly while working on the person’s defense in court.

Warrants may or may not appear on a background screening, depending on what kind of check is being performed and who is conducting the screening.

A Brief Summary of Illinois Background Check Agencies

Here we have compiled information on the various agencies in Illinois that conduct background checks or require one for employment or licensure.

The table below breaks down the agencies and what the screenings cover for each agency or state department:

Official Illinois Background Check Agency Screenings Covered
Illinois State Police
  • Employment
  • Volunteers
  • Housing applications
  • Statewide background checks
  • Nationwide background checks (in coordination with the FBI)
Illinois Department of Human Services
  • Healthcare workers (nurse aides, home health)
  • Adult daycare workers
  • Adult care administrators
Illinois Department of Child and Family Services
  • Childcare workers
  • Childcare administrators
  • Childcare volunteers
  • Foster care parents
  • Adoptive parents
Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation
  • Acupuncturist
  • Adult cannabis dispensers
  • Advanced practice registered nurses
  • Appraisers
  • Architects
  • Athletic trainers
  • Auctioneers
  • Cemetery workers
  • Clinical psychologists
  • Collection agents
  • Cosmetology practitioners
  • Dentists/dental assistants
  • Design firm workers
  • Detectives (store and private)
  • Dietitians
  • Environmental health workers
  • Funeral workers
  • Geologists
  • Home inspectors
  • Interior designers
  • Land surveyors
  • Landscapers
  • Marriage counselors
  • Massage therapists
  • Medical professionals
  • Nurses
  • Occupational therapists
  • Optometrists
  • Orthopedic specialists
  • Pharmacists
  • Physical therapists
  • Podiatrists
  • Public accountants
  • Realtors
  • Roofers
  • Sex offender treatment providers
  • Social workers
  • Speech/language pathologists
  • Veterinarians
Illinois State Board of Education
  • Teachers
  • Substitute teachers
  • Teacher assistants/aides
  • School administrators
  • School support staff
  • School bus drivers

The primary purpose of a background check by one of the agencies listed above is to see if a person has any disqualifying offenses in their background. Disqualifying offenses include items found on felony registry lists such as sex offender registries or FBI rap sheet reports, as discussed below.

Searching the Illinois Sex Offender Registry for Nearby Sexual Predators

Due to the nature of the crime, individuals convicted of a sex offense are required to register with the local sheriff’s office in the county they reside. Citizens have the right to view this registry to see who in their neighborhood has been convicted of a sex offense to increase public safety and awareness.

Reasons for searching the registry can range from curiosity to a need-to-know for employment, licensure or housing applications. An individual with a sex offense can be denied housing if it would place the person in violation of the registry or denied employment if the conviction would place the public in danger or endanger vulnerable populations.

To search the registry, do the following:

  1. Open the Illinois State Police website.
  2. Click the link for the sex offender registry.
  3. Read the disclaimer and click the agree button at the bottom to proceed.
  4. Enter the subject’s first and last name and click the find button.
  5. Review the list of search returns for the record that matches the subject.
A screenshot shows a sex offender registry search that involves entering the first name, last name, city, zip code, status, offender type, and search results.
Source: Illinois State Police33

Information provided through the registry includes offender name, aliases, address, mugshot, physical description, crimes convicted of, county of conviction and whether or not the person is in compliance with the registry requirements.17

A screenshot displaying information about a child sex offender, such as name, alias name, date of birth, alias date of birth, height, address and crime details.
Source: Illinois State Police33

Utilization of the sex offender registry information for housing or employment purposes is subject to the same laws as other criminal history data but must comply with state and federal statutes.

Rundown of Criminal & Arrest Record Laws in Illinois

Ultimately, any use of Illinois criminal records is subject to state and federal laws that limit what can be released and how it can be used.

In 2021, the state passed the Employment Background Fairness Act (HB 3056), which made it unlawful to refuse employment to a person based solely on a criminal conviction in the past. Employers must weigh the conviction with how it will directly impact the person’s ability to perform the job.

For example, a person convicted of child abuse would automatically be denied employment in a childcare center but cannot be automatically denied employment in a fast food restaurant based on a past conviction per this statute.18

This bill mirrors the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidelines on using criminal or arrest records in making hiring decisions, and the EEOC enforces anti-discrimination laws on the local level that unlawfully use background checks in a discriminatory manner. The state law is an added reinforcement to already existing federal laws.

The Uniform Conviction Information Act of 1991 (20 ILCS 2635) designated the Illinois State Police as the official criminal record repository. The act also limits the release of records to conviction information for the state of Illinois only. Nationwide checks must go through the FBI for a rap sheet if an agency needs a national screening.

The UCIA also requires agencies to maintain a file for 2 years including the subject’s written consent to a background screening, the subject must be provided a copy of the screening report, and give a 7 day window for the subject to notify the Illinois State Police if the information on the report is incorrect. Finally, the UCIA establishes fees for the background check service.19

Background screenings for certain positions such as working with children or vulnerable adults (elderly/disabled) are also subject to the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act and the National Child Protection Act which states certain offenses are automatic disqualifiers for positions working with vulnerable persons.

Illinois also has the Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act, which is the state’s ban-the-box law prohibiting employers from inquiring about a person’s criminal history until the person has been referred for an interview after an initial determination the person meets the job qualifications.

Finally, the Fair Credit Reporting Act prohibits looking back more than 7 years for most positions and applies to non-convictions as well, meaning there is an added level of protection against non-convictions appearing on an Illinois background check. FCRA guidelines pertain to commercial people finder sites as well as government agencies.

All of these laws also govern arrest records, outlining what can and cannot be released to the public and the responsibilities of agencies that have these records when presented with a record request.

By using this guide, individuals conducting background checks can quickly and easily find arrest records in Illinois and learn who is in custody. This resource also tells how to check Illinois criminal records to learn if someone has a criminal history when making decisions on hiring, licensure or housing applications.


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