Look Up Kentucky Public Records (Free Search Resource)

Free Kentucky Records Page Search
Access Kentucky Records: warrants, divorce and marriage, arrests, driver's license, and all public records.

Kentucky public records searches can be conducted free, thanks to the open records laws in the state.

In fact, with simply a name and sometimes a birth date, anyone can search Kentucky public records free.

This complete search guide provides not only a fast, immediate way to find records in Kentucky but also all the steps and processes to look up records using the state’s free resources.

Kentucky Open Record Laws

The Freedom of Information Act, aka FOIA, mandates that government institutions provide certain information to those requesting them. The Kentucky Open Records Act gives Kentucky residents the right to request state records. There are exceptions, including the prohibition of government employees from viewing personnel files.1

Many private online companies offer a service that allows people to search for one or more public records. They can serve as an excellent starting point for those new to record searching. Plus, some of them are free because government websites usually charge money.

Furthermore, a person can search the whole country because they’re not limited to local databases. Nevertheless, third-party sites aren’t always reliable because they usually deliver incomplete or outdated results. It’s advisable to use government databases since their records are usually accurate and complete.

Kentucky state court website search function to find free Kentucky warrant search and criminal records within the courthouse database.
Source: Kentucky Court of Justice7

Before they hunt down state records, individuals have to locate the right prison, jurisdiction, and/or background check company for their needs.

Kentucky Public Criminal Records

Rap sheets in Kentucky usually consist of felonies that go back as far as 1978, arrest records, documentation of court trials within the past five years, and other relevant information.

Someone’s criminal record alerts others—especially gun business owners, landlords, and the general public—about their past so they can make an informed decision about their integrity.

How To Search Criminal Records in Kentucky (Free)

The KSP (Kentucky State Police) provides three different methods for criminal history checks including name-based, fingerprint, and FBI-only.

  • Name-based- This type of criminal history check requires no fingerprints, and an individual has to print out and mail a form that best fits their situation. Each check costs $20.00 that can be paid for via money order or check. The whole process takes 10 days.
  • Fingerprint- People are required to go to an IdentoGo location anywhere in the state. Requesting agencies can charge others up to $10 for this service.
  • FBI-only- Interested parties can visit the FBI’s site to learn how to conduct a background check on themselves. Additionally, they need to visit the IdentoGo site to obtain fingerprints.

The Kentucky State Police Records Branch can be reached at 502-782-8700

Residents can also request their criminal history records from their local police department or the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC).

How To Find Mugshots in Kentucky

Those who want to know what a suspect or an offender looks like can utilize some great online tools.

For instance, the Louisville Metro Department of Corrections (DOC) has an interesting mugshot lookup feature. This one requires a site visitor to type in a captcha code before they can research someone. And once they click on a name, they have to type in another captcha code before seeing the arrestee’s photo. Here’s a snapshot of what it looks like:

Louisville Metro Department of Corrections screenshot for searching free Kentucky inmate records within the database, with a close-up of the verification code process and search button.
Source: Louisville Metropolitan Department of Corrections8

The Boone County Jail’s Inmate info page gives users the choice of typing in a name to look for a specific person or clicking a name on the list under the search box. When someone clicks the “Display Detail” button next to a name, they’re directed to a page where they can see a person’s mugshot as well as their booking number, arrest date, name, and other information.

The inmate list provided by the Butler County Jail allows site visitors to click on a name to view a convict’s details like their photo, arrest code, and name. A search box above the names lets people filter results by first and last name, date, and aliases.

Furthermore, they can type “mugshot + [Kentucky-based] county” into a search engine to obtain inmate photos.

Looking Up Juvenile’s Public Records in KY

Juvenile records aren’t part of Kentucky public records. That said, it doesn’t mean someone who committed a crime in their youth has nothing to worry about. A past criminal record can adversely affect someone’s career opportunities.

Fortunately, most juvenile records can be expunged if they’re not sexual or violent crimes. Two years have to pass after the last court conviction for an individual to be eligible for expungement. (Court judges can waive this requirement if they’re involved in the military or college.)2

Look Up Active & Bench Warrants in Kentucky

Kentucky residents can search for active warrants by visiting the KSP (Kentucky State Police) website. They can type the word “warrant” into the search box and click on the results that mention warrants.

The Grayson County Sheriff’s Office’s Most Wanted page carries a list of photos and charges information of offenders on the lam. In addition, their contact number is included in each listing.

Kentucky.gov offers a web portal called KYOPs E-Warrants. Note that this is only for authorized personnel like law enforcement agencies.

People can check other websites for warrants when possible. If not, they can contact their local sheriff’s office or police department by phone. They can also search for the appropriate county online by typing “active warrants + county” into Google, Bing, or other search engines.

A step-by-step process of finding warrant details in Kentucky can be useful for conducting a seamless and efficient lookup.

How To Search the KY Sex Offender Registry

The KSP has a very useful online sex offender registry to help locals look out for potential threats in their neighborhoods. After clicking the “Sex Offender Registry” button, site visitors are directed here:

Kentucky sex offender registry screenshot by the KY state police, with entry boxes to search Kentucky public records free with name and address or by entering neighborhood information.
Source: Kentucky Offender Registry9

As seen in this image, users can search the registry by an offender’s name and address or through a neighborhood map. (The map option is highly recommended for parents and guardians of minors.)

This site even has a Sex Offender Alert hotline that people can call anytime, day or night. They just need to provide their phone and set it up to monitor one to three zip codes. The Sex Offender Alert Line can be reached at (866)-564-5652.

The United State Department of Justice offers a search feature that lets people search for sex offenders all over the country, including US territories.

Many police departments and sheriff’s offices in Kentucky have their own sex offender databases. Residents can search their online repositories, too. Those that don’t have online databases usually provide numbers for others to inquire about information.

Use FastCheck To Run a Kentucky Background Check on Anyone

Getting a background check is a requirement for many components of everyday living like renting a home, getting a job, and applying for a loan. What typically shows up on a background check includes someone’s credit history, past and present addresses, and identity information.

People who live in Kentucky can run a background check on another person or themselves with FactCheck, a web-based criminal check portal. Interested parties have to register within the Kentucky Court of Justice to sign up for a FactCheck account.

Registered FactCheck users can receive online reports once their request has been processed.

If a person wants to make a one-time record request, they receive their reports via mail. They also need to fill out and send public records request and licensing agency records forms to get their requests processed.

In-person and mail requests are made to this address:

Records Unit
1001 Vandalay Dr
Frankfort KY 40601

Acceptable payment methods include money orders, checks, debit cards, and credit cards.

Those who are repeat customers can sign up for a prepaid account. They can get started through their contact form or by contacting (800)-928-6381.

Free Kentucky Divorce Court Records Search

Kentucky court records mainly contain records of criminal or civil court trials, transcripts of hearings, the probate of wills, etc. Due to the Supreme Court’s Open Records Policy, people can request Kansas public records through the AOC. This doesn’t include sealed or confidential records.3

Screenshot of Western District Court website for free Kentucky divorce records search and free bankruptcy KY search.
Source: Western District of Kentucky | United States Bankruptcy Court10

There are six courts that encompass the Kentucky Court of Justice: the District Court, the Circuit Court, the Court of Appeals, the Family Court, and the Business Court.

  • The District Court deals with misdemeanors, traffic violations, and small claims trials.
  • The Circuit Court is in charge of civil cases related to wills, property, and capital felonies.
  • The Court of Appeals handles “do-over” cases that come from lower courts.
  • The Supreme Court, which is based in Frankfort, Kentucky, makes the final decisions on court cases. Additionally, it enforces the guidelines for other law personnel to follow.
  • Family Court falls under the Circuit Court and judges cases involving adoption, divorce, child maltreatment, and other family matters.
  • Business court works with commercial lawsuits.

How To Review Kentucky Court Records

Anyone interested in requesting open records can send a note to the AOC’s email address at [email protected]. People needing to request court records can click on the following links to get to the appropriate courts:

Older Case Records Requests Contact Info:

15 to 35-year-old Records: State Records Center, Email: [email protected], Phone: (502)-564-3617

Records 36 and Older: KDLA (Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives) Email: [email protected], Phone: (502)-564-1787

See if Someone Filed Bankruptcy in Kentucky

Residents interested in viewing someone’s bankruptcy records can visit the PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) site. They can search a case on the national level or in a federal court where the case was filed. Documents cost $0.10 per page, and audio files cost $2.40 per file.

Locals can also visit one of the two bankruptcy courts in the state: the US Bankruptcy Court of the Eastern District of Kentucky and the US Bankruptcy Court of the Western District of Kentucky. If someone prefers to obtain a record by phone, they can call the Voice Case Information System (VCIS) number at (866)-222-8029. (Extension 523 for the Eastern District, and 524 for the Western District.) It’s a free service that’s available all day every day of the week.

If someone needs to track down any closed bankruptcy records, they can do it through the National Archives(NARA) Bankruptcy Case Files. People can request them by mail, phone, or email. Though it costs nothing to search for them, there’s a charge for paper or digital copies. Patrons can even conduct their errands in person or at the address below if they don’t mind traveling. They should go to the address below:

NARA at Kansas City
400 West Pershing Road
Kansas City MO 64108

Phone: 816-268-8000
E-mail: [email protected]

Inmate Records in Kentucky (Jail & Prison)

Over 27,000 inmates reside in Kentucky’s jails, and approximately 23,100 offenders dwell in the state’s prison system.4 Unlike other states in the country, Kentucky is the only one that elects a jailer, and an election occurs every four years.5

Kentucky inmate records usually contain correctional facility locations, criminal offenses, mugshots, and any distinguishable markings. Knowing this information makes it simple for someone to determine someone’s character or easily identify them.

How To Find Local Jail Inmates & Recent Arrest Records in Kentucky

People can locate Kentucky arrest records and jail inmates through online search tools provided by many sheriff’s offices and police departments.

For example, many of the county jails like the ones in Clark County and Larue County use a feature called JailTracker that brings up a list of inmates after typing a captcha code. Users can click on the “View More” next to an inmate’s name to view their photos and read their details.

Others, like the Graves County Jail Inmate Finder feature a page like this:

Kentucky jail inmates screenshot for Graves County information such as gender, date of birth, height, weight, race, hair and eye color, skin tone, build and nationality.
Source: Graves County Jail11

Site visitors can click on a name to see a mugshot (if provided) and read their charge descriptions and offense dates.

Residents can apply these search methods to other sheriff’s offices or police departments. If a county jail doesn’t have an online depository, they can call the county sheriff’s office or local police department for more information on current inmates.

How To Access Details of a Prisoner in Kentucky

The Commonwealth of Kentucky Department of Corrections (DOC) offers a prison search feature called the Kentucky Offender Online Lookup, or KOOL. It gives people a myriad of search options, as seen here:

Kentucky Online Offender Lookup portal with a yellow arrow pointing to 'advanced options' for searching free KY inmates.
Source: Kentucky Department of Corrections12

By clicking on the “Show Advanced Options,” people can search for offenders belonging to categories like death row, probation, and parole.

The Victim Identification & Notification Everyday (VINE) system is a great tool for those who were victims of specific perpetrators. It notifies them about an offender’s custody status from correctional facilities via email or phone.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) website is for individuals looking for federal prisoners. It allows users to search records that date back to 1982.

Visiting a Kentucky Inmate

While many imprisoned loved ones are waiting for their release dates, some family members and friends want to visit them. All the Kentucky DOC prisons have their own rules regarding visitations. However, Bell County Forestry Camp serves as an example of what guidelines prospective visitors need to abide by.

They need to send a message to [email protected] to make an appointment. Visits are held on weekdays from 9 in the morning to 2 in the afternoon.

Those planning to visit other correctional institutions can continue to monitor the Kentucky DOC for updates.

Sending Money To a Prison Inmate

If someone wants to send money to help an inmate pay for essential expenses and/or treats, they can transfer money deposits through Access Corrections. They can electronically send payments through the site or an app. Money order payments require a form to be mailed to:

Access Corrections- Kentucky DOC Offender Trust
PO Box 12486
Saint Louis MO 63132

Walk-in deposits require a person to register their account through CashPayToday before transferring money at local kiosks.

Prison Inmate Communication

Individuals who want to speak to their loved ones by phone have to call collect, and they’re responsible for the costs.  If emergencies come up, they can dial (606)-337-7065. Any mail correspondence is inspected before being given to inmates.

Anyone who has concerns or questions for the Kentucky DOC can contact the appropriate division in this list of divisions.

KY Vital Records Explained

Kentucky vital records include divorce certificates, death certificates, adoption records, birth certificates, marriage certificates, stillbirth certificates, property records, and genealogy reports. Nonetheless, this portion of the article focuses on divorce, marriage, death, and birth records.

Accessibility of Vital Records in Kentucky

Per Chapter 213.131 statute, birth and death certificates aren’t Kentucky public records unless 100 and 50 years have passed, respectively.

They can only be obtained by legal representatives, a parent or guardian, or, in the case of birth certificates, the named subject who is at least 18 years old.

Marriage and divorce records are open to the general public. Not only are they easily accessible, but county data is also reported to the Census Bureau. The following image shows the divorce rate in each Kentucky county, illustrating the abundance of available divorce records, not to mention other vital records.

An image showing the map of Kentucky with its divorce rate data for every county.
Source: The Census Bureau

How To Get a Copy of Certificates & Vital Records in Kentucky (Search Free Marriage Records)

Birth, marriage, death, and divorce certificates can be purchased through the Kentucky Cabinet for Health & Family Services (CHFS), Office of Vital Statistics. People can buy them through one of the five options:

  • Mail– Paperwork, checks, and/or money orders should be sent to the following address:

Office of Vital Statistics
275 East Main Street 1E-A
Frankfort KY 40621

  • Drop Box– This method is convenient for those who live close to the facility. They only need to fill out an application provided by the box before submitting it through the visitor entrance.
  • Online– Customers can place an order through VitalChek. Shipping options include USPS, FedEx, and UPS. Acceptable payments include debit cards, credit cards, and ACH.
  • Phone– People can call 800-241-8322 or fax 866-283-7477 to place certificate orders.
  • In-person– Patrons can go to the lobby between 8 am and 3:30 pm on weekdays to apply for a certificate.

The price for birth certificate copies is $10.00. It’s $6.00 for death, marriage, and divorce certificates. Mail and drop box orders take approximately five to seven days to process. Below are the applications customers need to fill out to qualify to obtain certified copies of certificates:

A screenshot displaying an application for a certified copy of a marriage or divorce certificate requires information such as the parties' legal names, the date of issuance and the requestor's details.
Source: Commonwealth of Kentucky State Registrar of Vital Statistics13

Sometimes, certificates have to be amended due to an error or a change in someone’s life. However, any changes made to records have to abide by certain Kentucky laws.6 A person can contact a representative to get assistance with any amendments.

For any other questions or comments, interested parties can call the Office of Vital Statistics at 502-564-4212.

Additional guidance on obtaining vital records can be found in the Kentucky marriage document search resource or the tutorial on obtaining divorce records in KY.

Getting advice on finding state records can be an uphill battle. Some professionals out there may even charge people to give them tips. But readers don’t have to worry about that here because they’re learning about this for free. Understanding the guidelines for obtaining Kentucky public records can make them prepared to tackle any obstacles they may face.


1Kentucky FOIA Laws – National Freedom of Information Coalition. (n.d.). National Freedom of Information Coalition. Retrieved June 25, 2022, from <https://www.nfoic.org/kentucky-foia-laws/>

2Juvenile Expungement | Louisville &amp; Frankfort, KY | HelpExpungeMe.com, LLC. (n.d.). Expungement Attorney. Retrieved June 25, 2022, from <https://helpexpungeme.com/juvenile-expungement>

3Home Open Records Request. (n.d.). Kentucky Court of Justice. Retrieved June 25, 2022, from <https://kycourts.gov/Pages/open-records-request.aspx>

4Kentucky 2019. (n.d.). National Institute of Corrections. Retrieved June 25, 2022, from <https://nicic.gov/state-statistics/2019/kentucky-2019>

5Boone County Jail. (n.d.). Boone County, KY. Retrieved June 25, 2022, from <https://www.boonecountyky.org/government_administration/county_government/jailer/index.php>

6The Office of Vital Statistics – Cabinet for Health and Family Services. (n.d.). Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services. Retrieved June 25, 2022, from <https://chfs.ky.gov/agencies/dph/dehp/vsb/Pages/default.asp>

7Kentucky Court of Justice – Kentucky Court of Justice. Accessed 6 May 2023. <https://kycourts.gov/Pages/index.aspx>

8Louisville Metropolitan Department of Corrections. Accessed 6 May 2023. <https://mugshots.louisvilleky.gov/DetailPages/InmateDetails.aspx?ReferenceID=328080&InmateID=1519289>

9Kentucky Offender Registry. Accessed 6 May 2023. <http://kspsor.state.ky.us/>

10Western District of Kentucky | United States Bankruptcy Court. Accessed 6 May 2023. <https://www.kywb.uscourts.gov/>

11Graves County Jail. Accessed 6 May 2023. <http://inmates.bluhorse.com/Default.aspx?ID=GCDC2>

12Kentucky Offender Search – Kentucky Department of Corrections – Offender Online Lookup System. Accessed 6 May 2023. <http://kool.corrections.ky.gov/>

13Commonwealth of Kentucky State Registrar of Vital Statistics. (2023, December 20). Application for a Certified Copy Marriage/Divorce Certificate. Retrieved April 25, 2024, from <https://www.chfs.ky.gov/agencies/dph/dehp/vsb/Forms/VS230MARRIAGEDIVORCEAPP.pdf>