Mississippi Public Records
Located in the Southern United States, Mississippi has been ranked the most religious state in the country by such places as the Pew Research Center and the Gallup Poll. Also known as “The Magnolia State” and “The Hospitality State,” Mississippi consists of areas of delta land along the Mississippi River and heavily forested regions. A majority of the farm-raised catfish consumed in the U.S. is produced by aquaculture in Mississippi and industrial farms continue to dominate the landscape. With a population of nearly 3 million residents, Mississippi is the 31st most populous state and does make provisions for the sharing of its records with the public.
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Mississippi Public Records Laws
The Mississippi Public Records Act wasn’t passed until 1983. Before this, there was considered to be common law access to public records in the state due to court decisions dating back to 1941. The current public records law can be found in Chapter 61 of Title 25 of the Mississippi Code. The Act provides that “any person” has a right to access public records in the state. The purpose of the request generally doesn’t need to be stated, unless the records being requested are of a confidential nature. The use of records once obtained is unrestricted.
Records that are subject to the Act include files that are produced by all public bodies in the state, including the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. However, the executives, legislators, and judges themselves are exempt. Other records that are not included under the Act, or are exempt, include:
- Records made confidential by statute or court order
- Trade secrets
- Personal information of law enforcement and victims of crimes
- Confidential financial and commercial data
- Attorney work product
- Personnel files
- Medical examiner records
- Jury records
- Medical records
- Archaeological records
- Academic records
Mississippi Criminal Records, Arrest Records and Background Checks
Background checks in Mississippi are administered by the Mississippi Department of Public Safety, Criminal Information Center. These are conducted for the purposes of pre-employment checks, licensing, and criminal justice investigations. A signed consent or court order is required to request one of these reports. These are also fingerprint-based reports, so a fingerprint scan needs to be completed for all applicants before requesting a report.
Mississippi Jail and Inmate Records
To obtain information about the corrections facilities in Mississippi, inmates in the system, and services for victims, visit the state Department of Corrections website. If you wish to locate an offender in the prison system, you can do a search on their offender locator page either by Name or ID Number. You will be provided with an Inmate Detail page, given an image if available, a list of offenses, current location, and tentative release date.
Mississippi Court Records
Information on the courts in Mississippi and obtaining court records can be obtained from the state’s administrator of the courts website. Many current court cases can be searched online through the state’s Mississippi Electronic Courts (MEC) portal. The court’s open records policy can be found here. Copies of actual court records and case files may still need to be requested from the clerk of the court where the case was heard.
Mississippi Vital Records
Vital records in Mississippi for birth, death, and marriage certificates are maintained by the Office of Vital Records. Birth records and death records are available from 1912 to present. Marriage records are available from January 1, 1926 to June 1, 1938 and from January 1, 1942 to present. For all requests, you will need to prove that you are either listed on the record or are an immediate family member, legal guardian, or legal representative to make an application.
There are several ways to request any of these records in Mississippi:
- In Person: You can order in person at the State Office at 222 Marketridge Drive, Ridgeland, MS 39157.
- By Mail: Simply download and complete the proper form and return it with copies of required documentation to: Mississippi Vital Records, P.O. Box 1700, Jackson, MS 39215-1700.
- Online: Place your order and payment through VitalCheck.com.
The Office of Vital Records does not maintain divorce records. A divorce certificate needs to be requested from the Chancery Clerk in the county where the divorce took place. If you are not sure which county the divorce took place in, the Office of Vital Records may be able to search in the index from 1926 to present to locate this for you.