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The North Dakota State Prison System

North Dakota runs a comprehensive Corrections and Rehabilitation System for persons served a penalty of confinement by the state courts. In addition to serving justice, the system adopts a constructive approach to handling these individuals with the aim of transforming their lives, and creating the necessary change that allows them to reintegrate easily into the society upon the completion of their sentences. This approach entails medical care, reparation programs, skill acquisition, etc. The laws of state provide rules and guidelines for the day-to-day operations of the prison system in North Dakota.

What is the Difference Between Jail and Prison in North Dakota?

The state of North Dakota defines jails and regional correction centers as correctional facilities. They include county or city jails and detention centers which may be locally or regionally managed. Although they are categorized into grades one to three, the maximum term served in these facilities is one year. Detention centers primarily function to hold persons awaiting trial that do not have the option of a bail, or juveniles in custody. Note that county or city jails are primarily under the charge of the law enforcement agency of the locality, although the state can partner with the units if the need arises to temporarily house a state offender in jail.

Prisons in the state differ from the aforementioned facilities in that they house offenders that have received sentences from state courts of at least one year. The official name for prison in North Dakota is penitentiary.

How Many Prisons are in North Dakota?

The state of North Dakota manages three separate penitentiaries for adult males, and one correctional facility for women serving prison terms. The adult male penitentiaries each fit into a scale of maximum, medium, or minimum security facilities. Maximum security represents those used to house violent offenders as defined by the law, while minimum security accommodates the mildest felons. Here are their addresses:

  • North Dakota State Penitentiary is the maximum security prison for the state. It also houses inmates of a medium security rating.
  • James River Correctional Facility is an essentially medium security facility
  • Missouri River Correctional Center is the minimum security facility for the state.

The Department of Correction and Rehabilitation also maintains transitional facilities. They serve to facilitate transition from the prison environment to the community. Among them are:

Bismarck Transition Center
2001 Lee Ave
Bismarck, ND   58504
Phone: (701) 222–3440
Facsimile: (701) 222–3599

Center, Inc. operates branch in the following locations:


Halfway House
123 15th Street North
Fargo ND,58102
Phone: (701) 237–9340, (701) 235–1617

1519 1st Avenue
South, Suite B
Fargo, ND 58103
(701) 237–3341

100 6th Avenue SE
Mandan, ND 58554
Phone: (701) 663–825; (701) 663–0926 ( Community programs)

Grand Forks
Adolescent and adult Programs
202 South 4th Street
Grand Forks, ND 58208

The female-only penitentiary in the state is the Jamestown Women’s Facility, located at:

2605 Circle Drive
Jamestown, ND 58401

How do I search for an Inmate in North Dakota State Prison?

One way to search for an inmate in North Dakota prisons is to visit the correctional facility of interest to make inquiries. Be sure to have the names of the offender, the inmate registration ID, and other basic information. Each center maintains a register of persons currently serving time in the facility. The Department of Correction and Rehabilitation also maintains an electronic repository of persons in prison at the time. Have ready the last name or starting letters of the offender’s name. Enter the information into the space bar provided. The search should return the names of all individuals bearing the name in prison. Locate the full name of interest and click on it for more information. For persons on parole or probation, there is a separate electronic repository for them. It also requires the last name or starting letters of the same to begin a search. Older records may not be available online. Contact the agency at:

3100 Railroad Avenue
Bismarck, ND 58502

Or write to:

P. O. Box 1898
Bismarck, ND 58502

Alternatively, call (701) 328–6390 or send a fax message to (701) 328–6651.

Are Incarceration Records Public in North Dakota?

Incarceration records are a part of criminal records in North Dakota, and as such they are available for the most part to the general public under the North Dakota Public Records Law. Exceptions to these rules are those under a seal of privacy. Such records would require a court or an executive order to get them released. Interested parties can get these records either by viewing the court sentence in the case file of the individual, or by viewing them as part of RAP sheet compilations in the state. RAP sheets, also called Criminal History Record Checks are available at the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation. To begin, submit a formal request that provides the following information:

  • Full names, including all aliases or former names
  • Date of birth
  • Social security number of the named party
  • Fingerprints of named individual
  • Current address of the subject
  • Signed authorization form by the named subject. If there is none, the office will contact the listed subject about the request.

It costs $15 payable to the ND Attorney General to process the request. For further information, read the Attorney General’s Office Instruction Page.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

How to Look Up Jail Records in North Dakota?

The jail history, arrest records, and criminal history information of an individual are accessible at the desk office of the agency that created the records. For example, jails records are in the custody of the law enforcement agency that manages the facility, such as the sheriff’s department, or the city police department. Some of these agencies list their inmate records on their agency pages as part of county or city information such as Cass County, while some do not. Verify this by contacting the relevant agency office. Also note that all jail information becomes a part of the criminal history summary of the individual. Therefore the State Criminal Investigation Bureau will provide comprehensive information about the jail record of an individual. Here is the address:

4205 State St
Bismarck, ND 58503

or write to:

Office of Attorney General
600 East Boulevard Avenue
Department 125
Bismarck, ND 58505

Can Jail Records be Expunged in North Dakota?

Yes. Jail records are expungeable by state courts in North Dakota, provided the case belongs to one other categories:

  • It was an unlawful arrest
  • The charges were dropped or dismissed
  • The defendant got an acquittal

Some criminal records qualify for expunction in North Dakota by law. However, the conviction never leaves the criminal history record of the named party, if he or she pleaded guilty, or was convicted of the offense. Other records such as court files, arrests and other law enforcement agency records can be expunged.

  • Criminal Records
  • Arrests Records
  • Warrants
  • Driving Violations
  • Inmate Records
  • Felonies
  • Misdemeanors
  • Bankruptcies
  • Tax & Property Liens
  • Civil Judgements
  • Federal Dockets
  • Probate Records
  • Marriage Records
  • Divorce Records
  • Death Records
  • Property Records
  • Asset Records
  • Business Ownership
  • Professional Licenses
  • And More!