Arkansas Public Records
Located in the Southern region of the United States, Arkansas has a diverse geography that is made up of the Ozark Mountains and the Arkansas Delta. Known as “The Natural State,” Arkansas is the 29th largest and offers residents and tourists much in the way of outdoor recreation. The 32nd most populous state in the U.S., Arkansas has just under 3 million residents and its government does make provisions for the sharing of public records.
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Arkansas Public Records Laws
The Arkansas Freedom of Information Act was first passed in 1967 and is covered under state statute Ark. Code Ann. §§ 25-19-101 – 25-19-109. The law has been amended 16 times since to clarify its intent. The Act states that “all citizens of Arkansas” may request public records. “Citizens” has been expanded to include corporations and businesses in the state, but convicted felons are prohibited from obtaining certain records. The purpose of the request is only taken into account when it comes to personnel records, and it doesn’t matter how any records are used once obtained.
The Act covers public access to records maintained in public offices and includes the executive branch, state university system, legislative bodies, and non-government agencies that receive public funding. Among the exemptions, or things that you won’t be able to get, are:
- Records made confidential by statute
- State income tax records
- Medical records
- Adoption records
- Education records
- Archeological files
- Grand jury minutes
- Law enforcement records
- Trade secrets
- Licensing examinations
- Oil and gas records
Arkansas Criminal Records, Arrest Records and Background Checks
Background checks in the state of Arkansas are administered by the Arkansas State Police. Background checks can only be pulled by certain entities, such as licensing bureaus, child welfare agencies, school districts, facilities that care for the elderly, and certain employers. Others, such as standard pre-employment checks, must have a signed consent. These background checks are done through an online system and can be a name-based or fingerprint-based report.
Arkansas Jail and Inmate Records
Information on inmates in the state of Arkansas system, help with victims rights, or other inmate-related assistance can be found on the state’s Department of Corrections website. To learn information about an inmate, the state has its own inmate population search page, where you can enter the offenders ADC Number, if known, their Name, age range, and other pertinent information to conduct a search. You will receive information on where the offender is being housed, a list of their charges or convictions, and an anticipated release date. If you don’t have enough information for a search, you can simply download their entire database and browse through it.
Arkansas Court Records
Any information needed about Arkansas courts can be found on its administrator of the courts website. Some public records can be obtained through its online CourtConnect, which allows the public to locate information on cases through most of the district and circuit courts, as well as the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals. Paper copies of records will need to be requested from the appropriate courthouse.
Arkansas Vital Records
Vital records in Arkansas, such as birth, death, marriage, and divorce certificates, are maintained by the Arkansas Department of Health Vital Records Office. Vital records can be obtained in one of three ways:
- In Person: You can go to the Office of Vital Records from M-F, 8:00am-4:30pm and make a request. The address is: 4815 W. Markham St., Slot 44, Little Rock, AR, 72205
- By Mail: A completed form, obtained from the link above, can be mailed to the Office of Vital Records with your request.
- Online: The state of Arkansas accepts online requests through VitalCheck.com.
How far back records are available, and relationship requirements depend on the type of record being requested.
- Birth Certificates: Birth Certificates are available statewide from 1920 to present. There are a limited number of birth records from Little Rock and Ft. Smith dating as early as 1881. Birth records are available to persons who are related to the registrant, certain academic groups, and others who demonstrate a right to the record. After 100 years, these become public record.
- Death Certificates: Death Certificates are available for deaths from 1920 to present. Death certificates are available to relatives, designated representatives, and some academic research groups. After 50 years, these become public record.
- Marriage Certificates: Marriage certificates are available for marriages taking place from 1950 to present. Marriage certificates can be released to the persons named on the certificate, their relatives, representatives, and certain academic research groups.
- Divorce Certificates: Divorce certificates are available for divorces taking place from 1950 to present. Divorce certificates can be released to the persons named on the certificate, their relatives, representatives, and certain academic research groups.