Free Rhode Island Arrests & Criminal Records: Search Anyone

Free Rhode Island Arrest Records & Criminal Records Search
Access Rhode Island Records: background checks, warrants, probation and parole, court records, and all criminal and arrest records.

Look up free Rhode Island criminal records through official agencies and learn more about someone’s past or current situation.

Rhode Island arrest records and criminal proceedings are made available by State’s Access to Public Records Act (APRA) — you just have to know where to look.

This brief resource provides everything necessary to find arrests, mugshots, criminal history, probation or parole status, arrest warrants, background check reports, prisoner records, and more, which makes locating public criminal records quick and efficient.

Does Rhode Island Allow the Public Access to Criminal & Arrest Records?

Due to the state’s Access to Public Records Act (APRA), RIGL § 38-2-1, Rhode Island guarantees its citizens the right to view public records including criminal and arrest records of government agencies at all levels.1

Public records as defined per Rhode Island law are all types of documents regardless of their physical form that are produced pursuant to laws and ordinances when connected to official business by government entities.

Anyone can request criminal records without needing to provide a reason why—however, pursuant to RIGL § 38-2-6 of APRA, it is unlawful to use the information from public records for commercial purposes, whether with the intention to solicit or gain a commercial advantage. APRA has a 10 day window to respond to a request, if this time period elapses, the request is deemed a denial.

APRA makes it such that members of the public can inspect public records of which criminal and arrest records are, for free or for a minimal fee. The law is not absolute, and not all records are available for public consumption including medical research, juvenile criminal records and sealed criminal records.

Individuals seeking additional information on accessing public records in the state, such as court records, marital records, and other publicly available documents, can find more details by consulting the steps for finding public information in Rhode Island.

The Rhode Island Access to Public Records Act is legislated similarly to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) which is a federal law that permits citizens access to documents and records produced by federal agencies with exemptions such as confidential business information, law enforcement records and records pertaining to national security.2 

Differences on What Shows Up on Criminal Records Searches vs Arrest Records Searches in RI

Arrest records and criminal records are similar in that they both involve interactions of members of the public with law enforcement agencies—however, there are some differences due to the reasons why both sets of records are produced.

Criminal records also known as rap sheets are generated by law enforcement agencies once offenders have been placed into custody, charged with a crime and have been through court proceedings; they include data such as date, convictions and other court decisions.

When individuals have been arrested on suspicion of a crime, they are taken into custody, booked and charged with that crime. They are presumed innocent and have not yet gone through court proceedings yet to determine if they are guilty. These records will have information such as the arresting agency (police department) and bond amounts set if any.

Criminal records include information such as:

  • Offender ID
  • Last & First Name
  • Middle Initial
  • Name Type
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Last Residence
  • Security
  • Case Number
  • Count
  • Date Imposed
  • Retro Date
  • Sentence Status
  • Description
  • Good Time Release Date

Arrest records consist of:

  • Names of the Arrestee
  • Inmate ID
  • Case Number
  • Commit Date
  • Disposition & Date of Disposition
  • Bail Type
  • Bail Amount

How To Find Recent Rhode Island Arrest Records & Mugshots for Free (See Why Someone Is in a RI Jail)

Members of the public can find recent arrests in Rhode Island using a number of government entities—these include county sheriff’s offices, city police departments and in some cases, through the courts.

While the courts do contain some arrest records, they may not be ideal for finding recent arrests as the cases may take time to go to court.

Government agencies may sometimes have online rosters that make it easy and quick to find out if someone is in jail; these tools are usually free for public consumption. County sheriff’s offices and city jails that do not have an online arrest report can be contacted via phone or by visiting the law enforcement of concern.

Perform a County Arrest Records Searches Through Local Sheriff Offices in Rhode Island

Rhode Island has 5 counties all of which have sheriff’s office departments that can be used to locate Rhode Island arrest records.

Rhode Island is among a handful of states with a unified correctional system, and all the county sheriff’s offices fall under The RI Division of Sheriffs which works in conjunction with the Rhode Island Department of Corrections (RIDOC).3

This means that all arrestees and pre-trial detainees in the counties are held under the jurisdiction and administration of the Rhode Island Department of Corrections—thus, all the online rosters in use are shared with the Department of Corrections.

It should be noted these rosters don’t have photographs of inmates that are typically derived from a mugshot database which is created when inmates are booked and photographed by county sheriff’s offices in other states.

A screenshot showing an Inmate Search provided by the Department of Corrections with sample results showing the inmate's full name, ID no., gender, address, and other details.
Source: Rhode Island Department of Corrections24

The table below can be used to contact the sheriff’s office to find out someone’s charges in jail in all counties in RI. All the links point to the inmate roster maintained by the Rhode Island Department of Corrections. Some local sheriff’s may have county jails to hold inmates before they are moved to the RIDOC facilities at Cranston:

County Inmate Search Tool or Contact Page County Jail or Sheriff’s Office
Phone Number
Shows Mugshots?
Bristol County Sheriff’s Office 401-275-2900 X
Kent County Sheriff’s Office 401-275-2900 X
Newport County Sheriff’s Office 401-275-2900 X
Providence County Sheriff’s Office 401-275-2900 X
Washington County Sheriff’s Office 401-275-2900 X

Look Up Arrests via Rhode Island’s Police Departments & Municipal Jails

Citizens may also find recent arrest records from municipal or city jails that are located in Rhode Island if county sheriff’s offices yield nothing.

There are a number of police departments that can be contacted to find out what someone was arrested for, but none of them maintain any form of online database. Contact must therefore be through either phone or making an in-person visit to find out who’s in jail.

To locate the city jail contact information, type in the name of the police department that oversees that jail using a search engine such as Google and establish contact to find the inmates. Simply search the city the arrest may have occurred + arrest search i.e. “Providence Rhode Island arrest search.”

Here are the major police departments in RI and links to their contact page so individuals can call to check for recent arrests:

How Do I Contact an Inmate in Jail & Bail Them Out in Rhode Island?

Inmates in Rhode Island as mentioned before are held at the RIDOC facilities in Cranston and citizens looking to contact loved ones and friends will abide by the agency’s protocols. Members of the public may also bail out defendants who have been granted bail while awaiting their trial.

Contacting an Inmate

Citizens can contact inmates through 3 main ways in Rhode Island jails:4

In-Person Visitations—It is possible to visit inmates, but this is a privilege and not a right that must be approved and can be denied or revoked if visitors violate state laws and/or DOC policies.5 Each facility will have their own visitation protocols and schedules for visitation and should be contacted before making a visit.

Mail—Inmates can send and receive mail in Rhode Island jails and prisons.6 All mail should be sent to the post office box for the facility where the inmate is located. All mail is inspected and no money and contraband should be included in envelopes.

Phone—Inmates are not allowed to receive calls but can make telephone calls which are limited to 20 minutes.7 Pre-paid calls are made using an “Advance Pay” prepaid account and/or using funds placed in the telephone debit account. All telephone calls are monitored and the RIDOC sets a schedule when the inmate can make the call.

In addition, Securus and the RIDOC provides an automated way for the public and inmates to obtain information that is specific to an inmate over the phone including:

  • Criminal Charges
  • Bond Information
  • Visitation Times
  • Inmate ID
  • Inmate Location
  • How To Send Money
  • How To Send Mail

This can be done by calling 401-414-2871.

Bailing Out an Inmate

Judges will decide whether a defendant can be released into the community pending trial or remain in custody—the process of being let back into the community may involve the posting of money (surety) as a security to ensure the defendants future attendance of court dates and they remain peaceful while out in society.

There are generally 3 forms of bail in Rhode Island including:

Personal Recognizance—This is the most common form of bail in Rhode Island typically for misdemeanors and does not entail posting of a surety, rather simply has the defendant promise to appear for any future court dates and maintain good behavior and keep the peace.8

If the defendant fails in these two promises, the bail can be revoked and they will be placed into custody after a bench warrant is issued.

Surety Bail—Surety bails are usually required for defendants with serious crimes to ensure that they appear in any future court dates. In RI, defendants are required to post 10% of the amount set by the judge. If they are unable to post this amount, they can employ the services of a Rhode Island bail bondsman who will help post the required amount.

If the defendant attends all hearings and once the case is resolved, they will receive all their money barring the bondsman’s and any related court fees.

Hold Without Bail—This scenario plays out in extreme cases where the defendant may be facing a possible life sentence. In these cases, the court holds the defendant without bail at the prison pending trial. Crimes that warrant this bail include murder, burglary, robbery and rape.

How To Access Rhode Island Criminal Records Through Official Channels

Members of the public have several agencies from which they can source Rhode Island criminal records and will be expounded in subsequent sections below. They include:

Conduct a Criminal Record Search in Rhode Island via County Courthouses & Clerks of Court

Court records are deemed public records due to Rhode Island’s APRA and can as a result be accessed via the clerk of the court or remotely through the Rhode Island Judiciary Public Portal (discussed below).

Criminal records from all counties in RI can be obtained from computer terminals that are present in the clerk’s offices of the respective county courthouses.

It should be stated that this access does not include:

  • Sealed Documents
  • Confidential Case Files
  • Any information defined pursuant of the Rhode Island Public Access Rules pertaining case information access such as juvenile case files, child custody case files and adoption case files.9

Court records as per the Rhode Island Public Access Rules can be accessed by members of the public at no cost but there are fees associated with printing and/or certifying court records.

This table provides the address and telephone contact for all county courthouses in Rhode Island:

County County Courthouse Address Phone Number
Bristol County 6th Division District Court
Garrahy Judicial Complex
One Dorrance Plaza
Providence, RI 02903-2719
Kent County 3rd Division District Court
Noel Judicial Complex
222 Quaker Lane
Warwick, RI 02886-0107
Newport County 2nd Division District Court
Murray Judicial Complex
45 Washington Square
Newport, RI 02840-2913
Providence County Garrahy Judicial Complex
1 Dorrance St,
Providence, RI 02903-1741
Washington County 4th Division District Court
McGrath Judicial Complex
4800 Tower Hill Road
Wakefield, RI 02879-2239

Use the Rhode Island Judiciary Public Portal To Perform a Criminal Record Search

As mentioned earlier, Rhode Island has a public records repository for all court records from county courts in the state known as the Rhode Island Judiciary Public Portal.

It can be accessed for free and can be accessed at the computer terminals in the court house or from a personal computer—it remains the entry point for electronic access to case information from Rhode Island’s judiciary database.10

A screenshot showing a sample case report from the Smart Search made in the Rhode Island Judiciary Public Portal, which includes the case summary, case information, party information, dispositions, and other details.
Source: Rhode Island Judiciary26

As seen in the image below, the portal can queried using:

  • Names of the Parties
  • Inputting a Business Name
  • Attorney’s Name
  • Case Number
  • Court
A screenshot showing the Rhode Rhode Island Judiciary Public Portal, Smart Search, Search criteria where one is required to enter either a record number or name.
Source: Rhode Island Judiciary25

How Does Someone Obtain a Copy of Criminal Records in Rhode Island?

One of the primary reasons that copies of criminal records are required is for verifying employment eligibility but they could also be used for vetting potential tenants—whatever the reason may be, there are easy ways that allow the public to obtain copies of criminal records in RI:

  1. They may be obtained from the Rhode Island Bureau of Criminal Identification (RIBCI) who are the primary repository for criminal records. Copies requested must be done with consent for:
    • State Background Checks—These searches are confined to state records and are named based.
    • National Background Checks—This type of check is fingerprint based and is a national type that is often required for purposes for employment such as caregivers. National background checks will be discussed in the sections below.
  2. Copies of criminal records may also be obtained from Rhode Island courts using the Rhode Island Judiciary Public Portal. The process of obtaining these records was discussed in the previous section.

The Attorney General through the Rhode Island Bureau of Criminal Identification (RIBCI) is tasked with providing state and national background checks to members of the public.11

RIBCI conducts two types of background checks in the state:

  • Name-Based Searches
  • Fingerprint-Based Searches

Both of these processes are described in depth under the background check section below.

How To Verify if Someone Is on Probation or Parole in Rhode Island

The Rhode Island Department of Corrections Probation & Parole unit oversees the supervision of residents in the community either granted parole by the parole board or those that have been placed on probation by courts.13

Parole is a process by which a parole board grants the release of inmates from prison into the community under strict rules and conditions set by the parole board—they are typically considered for it once they complete a third of their sentence.14

Conversely, probation is a court ordered prison sentence that is suspended on provision that the offender abides by prescribed rules and commits no further offenses.

To illustrate just how many people are on probation and parole, the following image shows the combined total of probationers and parolees in Rhode Island, along with their ethnicities:

An image showing the Rhode Island state map with its total combined population of probationers and parolees and a bar graph placed on the bottom right corner of the image presenting the ethnicities of these probationers and parolees.
Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics

There are two ways in which citizens can find offenders on probation in Rhode Island or look up RI parolees seamlessly:

  1. Performing a probation search using the Rhode Island Probation Search Tool which can scour the parolee database of inmates in the state prison managed by the Rhode Island Department of Corrections.
  2. Since the courts issue probation orders, members of the public can also search for court records using the Rhode Island Judiciary Public Portal to find out whether someone is on parole.

How To Begin the Expungement or Sealing Process in Rhode Island: ‘Erase’ RI Criminal Records

Interested individuals who are looking to expunge or seal their records will need to contact the Office of the Attorney General – Rhode Island Bureau of Criminal Identification to determine whether they are eligible for expungement—however, the process of expungement will take place with the courts.

Expungement is the process by which Rhode Island criminal records of convictions are destroyed or sealed from court records and an order of expungement will direct the court to view the criminal conviction as if it did not take place.15

Expunction will help provide relief from effects of having criminal records such as being barred from securing employment, housing and other needs.

All criminal records cannot be expunged and only particular crimes such as misdemeanor crimes and some non-violent felonies can be sealed.

A screenshot showing the instructions for filing a Motion to Expunge or Seal Record in Rhode Island.
Source: Rhode Island Judiciary28

To initiate the process of expunction, individuals should:

1. To determine eligibility, citizens can visit the Attorney General’s website, and fill out the Expungement Online Application to make a determination if they are eligible for expunction. Information collected through this form will allow the R.I. Office of the Attorney General to search their criminal history and make a determination on eligibility.

2. Obtain all criminal records from the BCI (this process has been outlined above) and proceed to the Judicial Records Center to request certified copies of cases that are over 3 years old. This is located at:

Rhode Island Bureau of Criminal Investigations
5 Hill Street, Pawtucket,
Rhode Island 02860

Phone: 401-721-2641

3. Proceed to file a motion using the Motion To Expunge or Seal Record Form with the clerk of court where the charges and/or convictions took place. A copy of the motion should be brought to have the petitioner’s signature notarized.

4. A court date for a hearing will then be given and the notice of the date of this hearing will need to be dropped off at the police department that made the arrest and the Attorney General’s (AG) office. This can be done in person or mail.

5. Attend the court and prove that criteria for eligibility for expunction is met.

6. After a successful grant of motion, copies of the order should be provided to the AG’s office and the police department that brought the charge. Make sure to keep the original in case any agency may mistakenly disclose expunged records.

7. After about 2 months of the grant, obtain a copy of criminal records to ensure the record was expunged.

A screenshot showing the Expungement Online Application form provided by the Office of the Attorney General to check if one is eligible for expunction.
Source: State of Rhode Island, Office of the Attorney General29

It is advisable to enlist counsel to file the motion for expunction as sometimes the process may be complicated and during the hearing to prove to the judge that expunction eligibility is justified.

While an expunction means an offender does not have to disclose a charge they were convicted for, there are certain exemptions pursuant to RIGL § 12-1.3-4 (b) where they will have to make a notification of their criminal past including:16

  • Seeking a law enforcement position
  • Acquiring a teaching and/or coaching certificate
  • Operator of an early childhood education facility
  • Admission to the bar of any court in RI

In addition to this, pursuant to RIGL § 12-1 3-4 (c), certain agencies and individuals will still have access to expunged records:16

  • The owner of the expunged record
  • A court order
  • Law enforcement agencies
  • Bar agency when considering a bar admission
  • Commissioner of elementary and secondary education, etc.

How Do I Locate an Inmate in a Rhode Island State or Federal Prison?

Rhode Island has one Adult Correctional Institution (ACI) located in Cranston consisting of seven buildings that houses male and female state prisoners and is managed by the Rhode Island Department of Corrections (RIDOC)—the state has no federal prisons.17

Members of the public should contact the RIDOC to locate state prison inmates and may turn to the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) for inmates that may be located out of state.

Rhode Island State Prison Search: The Rhode Island Department of Corrections (RIDOC) has jurisdiction of the facility at Cranston which includes a maximum security prison.

RIDOC has a database of its prisoners as mentioned briefly before and has a Rhode Island State Prisoner Search Tool that can be used to quickly and easily find inmates at its ACI. It requires no registration and is free to use and can be used to find daily arrests since county inmates are housed in RIDOC facilities.

This tool can be queried through a number of criteria namely:

  • Inmate ID
  • First & Last Name
  • Name Type (Alias or Real)
  • Race
  • Gender
  • Minimum & Maximum Age
  • Last Known City
A screenshot showing the Inmate Search tool provided by the Department of Corrections by using the inmate's ID or name to locate the inmate.
Source: State of Rhode Island, Department of Corrections31

Federal Prison Search: There isn’t a federal prisons in Rhode Island, however when an offender is convicted for a federal offense, they will likely be sent out of state to serve out their sentence in a federal prison which is maintained by the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP).18

The BOP has a felony registry which can be queried using a Federal Inmate Search Tool that can be used to swiftly find a federal prisoner incarcerated after 1982. Querying can be done using either their BOP number or last name. This online directory for federal inmates is free for use by the public and requires no registration.

A screenshot showing the Inmate Locator tool provided by the Federal Bureau of Prisons wherein the individual can search the inmate by number or name.
Source: Federal Bureau of Prisons30

How To Perform a Warrant Search in Rhode Island: See If You or Someone Is Wanted in RI

Warrants are issued by the courts in the state, and as such citizens who are looking to find a warrant out for their arrest should contact the Rhode Island Judiciary.

The Rhode Island Judiciary’s Warrant Search Tool can be used to obtain statewide RI warrant information, quickly and at no charge to interested individuals.

A screenshot showing the Rhode Island Judiciary Public Portal Smart Search platform in the Warrant Search Criteria portion, where an individual can filter the search by warrant type, warrant status, and by a warrant issued date.
Source: Rhode Island Judiciary32

To Find Warrant Information:

  1. Click on the Rhode Island Warrant Search Tool.
  2. Input the name of the person that is being searched at the top of the page.
  3. Proceed to the warrant section and select the warrant type.
  4. Filter by the warrant status.
  5. Choose the range of dates in which the warrant may have been issued.

A Look at Background Checks in Rhode Island

Background checks in Rhode Island are generally done for:

  • Personal uses
  • Professional reasons

The state does allow individuals to carry personal background checks on themselves and others. However, personal background checks conducted for other individuals must be done with consent by having them sign a release form, even if they are name based searches as discussed earlier.

These background searches through the Rhode Island Bureau Of Criminal Identification (RIBCI).

Nevertheless, it is possible to get some criminal history information on other individuals without the need for consent. These are not very comprehensive and can be obtained from the courts as touched on earlier.

Several government agencies and professional bodies in Rhode Island such as municipalities, schools, board of nursing etc. require several professions such as caregivers, doctors and volunteers to complete background checks to ensure they don’t possess Rhode Island criminal records.

Many occupations that require licensure from the state such as real estate appraisals and nurses will usually need background screenings completed.

These background checks are important as they:

  • Ensure Rhode Islanders receive the highest quality of service by hiring qualified and competent individuals.
  • They are also needed to ensure employees are trustworthy which helps safeguard communities as these checks prevent predatory characters from supervising vulnerable members of society such as minors and the elderly.
  • Background checks are also required for positions that are supervisory and executive in nature that allow the access of other employee’s accounts and intellectual property.

Links in the table provide more detailed information in the submission process for background checks:

Agencies That Require Background Checks Screening Reasons
State of Rhode Island Department of Education
  • Administrators
  • Teachers
  • Counselors
  • Support staff such as bus drivers, cleaners and cooks etc.
  • Volunteers
State of Rhode Island Department of Human Services
  • Foster Parents
  • Adoptive Parents
  • Medicine
  • Nursing
  • Midwifery
  • Social Worker
  • Respiratory Care
  • Pharmacy
  • Speech Language Pathology/Therapy
  • Psychology
  • Volunteers
  • Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  • Substance use Disorder Professionals
  • Adult Day Care Program
  • Assisted Living Residence
  • Home Care Provider
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Physical Therapy
  • Recreational Therapy
  • Interpreters and Transliterators
  • Nursing Home Administrator
  • Assisted Living
  • Administrator
State of Rhode Island Department of Health
  • Acupuncturists
  • Adult Day Care Providers
  • Aquatic Venues
  • Asbestos Professionals
  • Assisted Living
  • Athletic Trainers
  • Barber
  • Hairdresser
  • Cosmetologist
  • Behavioral Analysts
  • Birth Centers
  • Blood Testing Screening Programs
  • Chemical Dependency Professionals
  • Chiropractic
  • Dairy Industry Professionals
  • Dental Professionals
  • Dialysis Centers
  • Dietitians and Nutritionists
  • Drinking Water Operators
  • Electrologists
  • Emergency Medical Service Providers
  • Freestanding Emergency Care Facility
  • Home Care Providers
  • Home Nursing Care Providers
  • Hospice Providers
  • Marriage Health Therapists
  • Family Health Therapists
  • Mental Health Therapists
  • Massage Therapists
  • Medical Marijuana
  • Midwives
  • Naturopathic Physicians
  • Nurses
  • Nursing Assistants
  • Nursing Home Administrators
  • Nursing Homes
  • Nursing Service Agencies
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Optometrists
  • Opticians
  • Pharmacies
  • Pharmacy Professionals
  • Phlebotomy Stations
  • Physical Therapists
  • Physician Assistants
  • Physicians
  • Podiatrists
  • Psychologists
  • Radiologic Technologists
  • Radon Professionals
  • Outpatient Rehabilitation Centers
  • Respiratory Care Professionals
  • Social Workers
  • Speech Language Pathologists
  • Audiologists
  • Surgery Centers
  • Tattoo Artists
  • Body Piercers
  • Veterinarians
  • X-ray Facilities
State of Rhode Island Department of Labor & Training
  • Barbers & Cosmetologists
  • Behavioral Health
  • Boiler Operator Program
  • Construction Blaster Program
  • Crane and/or hoisting Operator Program
  • Electrical
  • Elevator Contractors, Mechanics and Inspectors Licensing Program
  • Fire Protection License Program
  • Funeral Service
  • Genetic Counselor Program
  • Outfitters
  • Real Estate Appraisers
  • Realty Regulation
  • Sanitarians
  • Speech Language Pathologists and Audiologists
  • Plumbers
  • Private Security
  • Professional Engineers and Professional Land Surveyors
  • Psychologists
  • Public Accountants

This table simply provides a sample of different government agencies and entities that require background checks for professions that fall under their jurisdiction—however, there are several other agencies and other employees that will require background checks.

All background checks in Rhode Island whether fingerprint or name based when done through the RIDCI, whether for personal reasons or employment purposes must have consent from the subject of the records and bound by state laws.

They should also follow the policies set forth by the Fair Credit and Reporting Act (FCRA) and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The EEOC prohibits employers from conducting background checks and using the information gathered to undermine equal employment opportunity to potential employees. This includes requiring employers to assess applicant’s Rhode Island arrest records and/or convictions as they relate to the job applicant and the responsibilities of the job.

FCRA mandates that employers obtain a consent to conduct background checks from potential employees. Generally, the FCRA gives employees the right to review the results from the checks and rectify any mistakes and also to appeal any decisions that have been made resulting from the background checks. It also mandates the employer to inform in writing that they will conduct a background check.

How To Run National Background Checks in Rhode Island (Fingerprint-Based)

National background checks in Rhode Island are often a requirement for purposes of employment such as those outlined above and operation of some businesses—they are fingerprint based and are inclusive of out of state and federal criminal records.

Fingerprinting on finger print cards can either be done through a law enforcement agency or these USPS Fingerprinting Locations where they are submitted electronically.

A screenshot showing the USPS Fingerprinting locations near or within Rhode Island and their working hours.
Source: United States, Federal Bureau of Investigation33

This can also be done at the Office of Attorney General where a fingerprint technician will use a LiveScan fingerprint machine to capture the prints and provide a copy. This costs $15 and can only be paid by debit/credit card.

Just like with name based searches, fingerprint based searched can be done via:


  1. Requesters must read and are recommended to print and complete this Fingerprint Form before visiting the office.
  2. Bring any additional paperwork required by the employer and/or statute.
  3. Valid ID including state issued identification and driver license or a valid U.S. passport.
  4. A technician will take the fingerprints as needed.
  5. No appointments are necessary as this is a walk in service.
A screenshot showing the Fingerprint Form that must be filled out when requesting a fingerprint-based background check.
Source: State of Rhode Island, Office of the Attorney General34


  1. To perform this type of check, a number of documents will need to be collected including:
  2. A check or money order of $45.00 payable to the ‘BCI’ will need to be enclosed with the above documents. No cash and credit cards allowed.
  3. A self-addressed envelope so that the request can be sent back.
  4. All these documents will need to be mailed to:
    • Rhode Island Office of the Attorney General
      Attn: Fingerprint Dept.
      4 Howard Avenue
      Cranston, RI 02920
  5. Allow for 7 business days processing of the request.
A screenshot showing the Identity History Summary Request Form that must be filled out when requesting a background check.
Source: United States, Federal Bureau of Investigation35

How To Conduct State Background Checks in Rhode Island (Name-Based)

These types of checks utilize the name and DOB of the subject of the record and only reflect Rhode Island arrest records and will not include out-of-state or federal offenses.

They can be done for personal reasons, but can also be done for someone else but with a signed and notarized release form for citizens wanting to find out if someone was arrested in the past.

State background checks can be done via:


  1. Physically visit the Attorney General’s Customer Service Center in Cranston located at:
    • Rhode Island Office of the Attorney General
      4 Howard Avenue
      Cranston, RI 02920
  2. A valid form of government issued ID is required including state issued identification and driver license or a valid U.S. passport.
  3. No appointment is necessary as it is a walk in service.


  1. To perform this type of check, a number of documents will need to be collected including:
      • A signed release form.
      • Copy of a valid ID including state issued identification and driver license or a valid U.S. passport
  2. A check or money order of $5.00 payable to the ‘BCI’ will need to be enclosed with the above documents.
  3. A self-addressed envelope so that the results can be sent back.
  4. All these documents will need to be mailed to:
    • Rhode Island Office of the Attorney General
      4 Howard Ave
      Cranston RI 02920
  5. Allow for 7 business days processing of the request.12
A screenshot showing the Disclaimer form needs to be filled out if an individual wants to do a State Background check through the mail.
Source: State of Rhode Island, Office of the Attorney General27

Searches Initiated by Others (Third Party Searches):

  1. To perform this type of check, a number of documents will need to be collected including:
      • A signed and notarized release form.
      • Copy of a valid ID including state issued identification and driver license or a valid U.S. passport.
      • Copy of ID from agency or individuals that the notarized disclaimer is released to.
  2. A check or money order of $5.00 payable to the ‘BCI’ will need to be enclosed with the above documents.
  3. A self-addressed envelope so that the request can be sent back.
  4. All these documents will need to be mailed to:
    • Rhode Island Office of the Attorney General
      4 Howard Ave
      Cranston RI 02920
  5. Allow for 7 business days processing of the request.

The RIBCI does not have access to juvenile records and individuals seeking background checks on minors should consult the Rhode Island Family Court.

How To Navigate the Rhode Island Sex Offender Registry & Find Nearby Predators

The State of Rhode Island State Police maintains an online database that contains information on persons convicted of sex offenses in the state due to the RI Sexual Offender Registration & Community Notification Act.19

As a result of the law, certain criminal convictions mandate the registration of a sexual offender. Additionally, local law enforcement agencies must make notifications of offenders’ presence to all counties in RI or other jurisdictions.

To find persons convicted of sex crimes, citizens may use the Rhode Island Sex Offender Registry (RISOR).

A screenshot showing the Rhode Island Sex Offender Registry (RISOR) Offender Search, where one can locate sex offenders in the country by providing either the name of the offender, address, or others.
Source: Rhode Island Sex Offender Registry (RISOR)36

This people finder can be searched using 4 criteria namely:

  1. Address Search—This finds sex offenders located within a radius of an address provided.
  2. Name Search—The name search uses the last and first names if known.
  3. City Search—This option allows users to locate offenders in a city that is inputted.
  4. Non-Compliant Search—The non-compliant search facilitates finding offenders that have failed to register. It shows a list of these offenders, complete with mugshots.
A screenshot showing the Rhode Island Sex Offender Registry Offender Search Results that showed the offenders' image, name, address, and other details.
Source: Rhode Island Sex Offender Registry (RISOR)37

Residents of Exeter, RI may use the same search tool since the town of Exeter does not have a law enforcement agency.

Your Rights Regarding Criminal & Arrest Records Under Rhode Island Laws

Rhode Island is an open records state due to its Rhode Island Access to Public Records Act (APRA)—Chapter §38-2-1 and the FOIA allowing a vast array of criminal and arrest records to be made accessible to the public.

However, there are several federal and state laws that uphold citizens’ rights such as privacy, which restricts access to certain criminal records from the public.

Laws applied include but are not limited to the Fair Credit Reporting Act’s (FCRA) Summary of Rights and the Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) Employee Rights. In addition, there are state laws such as ban the box that protect the rights of citizens when applying for employment in respect to their criminal histories.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)

The FCRA has a 7 year look back rule that mandates that consumer reporting agencies limit the reporting of an individual’s criminal history within the most recent 7 years.

This rule will vary from state to state, and some states will have longer or shorter look back periods. Rhode Island has 7 year look back period for positions that pay less than $75,000 annually for:

  • Arrest records that did not result in convictions
  • Bankruptcies
  • Civil lawsuits and judgments
  • Liens

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

Criminal convictions will still show in a background check with the exception of sealed criminal records—if an employer rejects an applicant due to a criminal conviction that happened years before the application, they may find themselves violating EEOC mandates.

While employers can consider criminal records when making hiring decisions, they must not do so on a racial basis.

For example, an employer should choose not to hire an African American with a criminal conviction but instead hire an equally qualified Caucasian with similar convictions. This is because the EEOC enforces civil rights in the workplace to prevent discrimination on employees.

Employers have to assess the relevance of an applicant’s criminal history and its relation to the responsibilities of a job. Also, employers should not refuse to hire someone simply because they got arrested as this is not proof they were convicted of a crime.

Citizens who think they have been discriminated against may file a charge/complaint with either the EEOC , the state or a local Fair Employment Practice Agency.20 There are strict time limits for these filings that will protect employee rights and therefore they have to be done ASAP. Typically, employers of the private sector with 15 or more employees are covered by EEOC laws.

Applicants filing against private, state and local government employers have 180 days to file from the alleged date of being discriminated against. Federal applicants have 45 days from the alleged date.


Citizens of Rhode Island who have successfully petitioned for an expungement of their criminal records are not required to disclose them to prospective employers.

Additionally, consumer reporting agencies (CRA’s) and custodians of expunged records are prohibited from disclosing these records pursuant to RIGL § 12-1.3-4.

Juvenile Records

Pursuant to RIGL § 42-72-8, Rhode Island prohibits the disclosure of law enforcement records pertaining to juveniles and are kept separate from adult records—this includes arrest and detention records and all identifying information such as names, fingerprints, photographs and addresses.21

These records can only be accessed via court order. It is therefore not required for job applicants to disclose their juvenile criminal records to potential employers.

Ban-the-Box Laws

RI has a ban-the-box law in place for all its employees whether they be public or private; this is codified under RIGL § 28-5-7.22 This law prohibits prospective employers from inquiring about a job applicant’s criminal history until the first interview in all counties in RI.

They may do so at the first interview and the law includes exceptions for positions in which an applicant would automatically be disqualified by law when they have a conviction and criminal history. Ban the box laws ensure that job applicants are initially judged by their qualifications and merits without the stigma of a criminal history they may have.

RIGL § 28-5-7 mandates fair employment practices making unlawful employment practice that discriminate employees in several aspects of employment including but not limited to:23

  • The recruitment, hiring and firing of employees.
  • Compensation and classification of employees.
  • Transfer, promotions and layoffs.
  • Retirement plans and disability leaves etc.

It is unlawful to perform personal named-based criminal background checks without someone’s consent in Rhode Island through the RIDCI for both name based and fingerprint based checks. Nevertheless, it is possible to check if someone has a criminal record for other persons from county courts and sheriff’s offices which may include arrest records.

Background checks that are being completed for professional purposes such as employment, property management, licensing etc., must conform to federal and state laws such as those requiring consent from the subject of the record.

Rhode Island criminal records may prove challenging to find for citizens that lack the know-how of obtaining them since they are spread over several agencies and jurisdictions. Knowing the right way to obtain Rhode Island arrest records and subsequent criminal records of all types makes the process of obtaining them smoother and quicker irrespective of the county someone was charged or convicted in.


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8Assembly, S. o.-G. (2023, January). RELATING TO CRIMINAL PROCEDURE – BAIL AND RECOGNIZANCE. Retrieved 2023, from <>

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35United States, Federal Bureau of Investigation. (2020, June 1). Identity History Summary Request Form. Retrieved June 13, 2023, from <>

36Rhode Island Sex Offender Registry (RISOR). (2023). Offender Search. Retrieved June 13, 2023, from <>

37Rhode Island Sex Offender Registry (RISOR). (2023). Offender Search: Results. Retrieved July 7, 2023, from <>