Criminal records comprise a large body of materials from case files to inmate prison registers. Criminal case flies consist generally of three things: the complaint, the finding of facts and the judgment. State historical societies generally keep non-current records from the formation of a county to about1950. Access is by case number. You can search registers of criminal actions or indexes to obtain the case file number(which is key). County courthouses generally have indexes, so you would have to contact them to begin.
Inmate records are unique and shed light on a dark episode of someone's past. The reality doesn't always match the family's tale. But if it does, be prepared emotionally for bad news about your ancestor's criminal background. Inmate case files typically include a deputy warden's examination sheet listing detailed information about the inmate's physical attributes and family background. It also may include things like monthly behavior reports and visitation records. Please note that many states have restrictions on inmate records. In Minnesota the restriction is 75 years from the date of the last entry in one's file.
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