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Mississippi Public Records

Interested in looking at Mississippi public records? Finding and requesting a public record can be a chore, mostly because records are scattered across multiple state agencies. With the help of this guide, it should be easier to locate what you’re looking for. 

Mississippi complies with the Mississippi Public Records Act (PRA) that was enacted in 1983. The act provides clear guidance on how the state’s 25 million public records can be provided to requestors. 

To learn more about requesting criminal records, inmate records, court records, and vital records, keep reading.

What does the Mississippi public records law say?

The Mississippi Public Records Act is a succession of laws that are designed to allow the general public access to access public records. These open records include books, papers, letters, accounts, photographs, maps, cards, films, documentary materials, and other data required to be maintained by any public body. All state agencies are subject to the law.

Exemptions include employment applications, personnel matters, tax records of an individual, academic examination questions, information regarding the purchase or sale of property for public purposes, and attorney work product concerning litigation. 

Anyone can publicly request access to Mississippi’s public records and you don’t have to state a reason for your request. There are no restrictions placed on the use of records either.

The Mississippi Public Records Act says state departments have seven business days to respond to a records search. However, departments may establish their own time limits of up to fourteen working days.

To learn more about freedom of information in the state of Mississippi, visit Mississippi.gov.

How can a person access public records in Mississippi?

Some records can be accessed online while others must be formally requested. If a request is necessary, the form can be delivered via mail, email, or by phone to the record-holding department. 

Every department is different, so expect some variation to the rules if you’re accessing records from multiple places. 

In general, a public records request should include: 

  • Your name and contact information, including an email, phone number, and mailing address
  • The name of the document you want access to with as much detail as possible
  • A specific time period that you’d like to receive the materials by
  • How to deliver the documents, whether by email or mail

Due to COVID-19, some public offices may have limited hours of operation. As a result, online requests are best, but if you want to go in person you should call ahead.

Mississippi criminal records

The criminal activities of a person can be found easily through a criminal record search. Mississippi criminal records are usually assembled from various sources and compiled into one database where they are availed to the public.

What’s on a criminal record?

A criminal record provides a detailed record of a person’s interactions with law enforcement. These records are pulled from various sources and include arrest records, convictions, and incarcerations within the state’s four prisons. 

More specifically, a criminal record or a background check will provide the following information: 

  • Personal information like a person’s name, birthday, nationality, etc.
  • A mug shot and full set of fingerprints
  • A list of distinguishing features like tattoos and other physical attributes
  • The type of offense (misdemeanor or felony) and description of the crime

Where can a person find Mississippi criminal records?

The Mississippi Department of Public Safety (MDPS) is the parent agency of the Criminal Information Center (CIC), serving as the administrator for criminal history improvement programs for the State of Mississippi. 

These records can be found either online or through local sources, like visiting your local law enforcement agency. 

The mission of the department is to maintain a repository of criminal records and provide fingerprint-based identification services to law enforcement and other criminal justice entities in the State of Mississippi and throughout the United States. These generated criminal background reports may be accessed online, from local sources, or through the official Mississippi State Records Online Database.

Mississippi inmate records

Persons who commit offenses in Mississippi are taken to various correctional facilities such as prisons, jails, and penal institutions. Requestors can access inmate’s records upon request.

What’s on an inmate record?

The information listed on an inmate record varies, but in Michigan the records usually contain a combination of personal information and specific details about a person’s incarceration situation. Public access to inmate records can provide the following information when accessed: 

  • Personal information like a person’s name, birthdate, and gender
  • A mug shot
  • Inmate location
  • Inmate registration number
  • Jail transfer information
  • Custody status

Where can a person find Mississippi inmate records?

All information about incarcerated persons in Mississippi State is maintained by the individual institutions. However they can be found at the Mississippi Department of Corrections website. You can conduct a simple search for an offender using a person’s name or ID number. 

Mississippi court records

According to the Mississippi Public Records Act of 1941, all residents within a state have a right to access court records to ensure transparency between the government and its residents. 

Court records can be the most complicated records to request because you often need to visit specific courthouses to gain access. However, Mississippi has an online system, which will ease your search.

What’s on a court record?

In most cases, court records are quite large and come with many different documents. Most people find the following documents the most helpful: 

  • Court minutes
  • Case files
  • Dockets
  • Orders of the court
  • Judgment documentation
  • Jury records and files
  • Witness documentation

Where can a person find Mississippi court records?

The Mississippi court system encompasses eight different types of courts, each with a specific delegated role in the judicial system. The Mississippi Judiciary is a site designed to provide public access to these courts and their decisions. General information about every level of the court system and judicial and staff directories are available for each court. 

If you can’t find what you’re looking for online, you’ll need to reach out to the court clerk where the case was heard. Dockets, briefs, orders, and opinions of the courts where the respective cases were held can be accessed online by searching the name or identification number of the inmate or the attorney’s name.

Mississippi vital records

The Mississippi State Department of Health is in charge of all birth records, marriage records, divorce records, and death records of everybody in the state. Upon request, the records are offered at a fee.

What information is needed to request a vital record?

To obtain a vital record in Mississippi, like a birth certificate or death certificates, a person must provide certain information to aid in the search. The information needed includes: 

  • The location of the event
  • The approximate date of the event
  • The full name of the person, including maiden names 
  • A case file number for divorce records
  • The license number for a marriage record

Where can a person find Mississippi vital records?

In order to access the records, one can either order online through mail, request online and pay via credit card, or book an in-person appointment at their physical offices in Ridgeland or Highland Colony Parkway.

Given the pandemic, many government agencies are asking people to use online options whenever possible to limit in-person contact. If you’re looking to order a certified copy of a birth certificate, death certificate, marriage record, or divorce records, you can do so online. 

Frequently asked questions about Mississippi records

As you continue your quest for public records, you may have additional questions. Here are several FAQs and answers that can help.

Can a request be submitted by non-residents of the state?

Yes, a request can be submitted by non-residents of the state. Residents in Jakson, Chancery, or Manhattan can access records in the state.

How long does that state have to respond?

The state has exactly seven days to respond. In a case where an extension is needed, the agency can extend for a further seven days upon request.

Is there a records custodian in Mississippi?

Yes there is a records custodian in Mississippi. 

What exemptions exist?

Mississippi has 32 exemptions on the books. Generally, these exemptions resemble those listed by other states that protect personal information, public safety, and trade secrets. 

Is there an appeals process in place?

Yes, there is an appeals process in place although there is a short window of time. One has to appeal within 30 days with the Mississippi Supreme Court from the day the agency rejected your request. 

Unlike other states that have an administrative appeal process through the attorney general, Mississippi does have this option. However, you can speak with the Ethics Commission to get their opinion before filing an appeal suit.

What fees are associated with requesting public records?

In Mississippi, each department can come up with its own “reasonable” fee structure for things like making copies of requested records. In some cases, a requester may be charged for labor as well, especially if the request is lengthy and ties up office staff and resources. 

  • Updated December 5, 2020
  • States

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