Mississippi Public Records

The FOIA (Freedom of Information Act 5 U.S.C. ch. 5, subch. II § 552), published in 1967, was granted the public the right to request information regarding any federal agency. The act stated that every person in the United States public had the right to know what was going on in their community and their government.

Because of the FOIA act, the public now has the ability to request records from federal government agencies by law and any reasonable request denied can be taken to court to have the records released.

Anyone denied records that were requested and allowed to be released legally, following the FOIA can sue that agency in order to retrieve the information they are looking for. Per the guidelines, there is no statute of limitations and filing can take place at any time.

Court hearings regarding the hearing will be held in the judicial area the person filing is located.

The fee for withholding and information legally required to be released and not exempted through the act is $100.00 and records will still have to be given.

How Does Mississippi Define Public Record?

Under the Mississippi Public Records Act, Ann. §25-61-1, a public record is described as, but not limited to, the following:

  • Films
  • Photographs
  • Books
  • Records
  • Papers
  • Accounts
  • Letters
  • Documentary Materials
  • Tapes
  • Cards
  • Maps

The public also has a right to these records in the same format that the agency holds. This means any videotapes, photographs, recordings, etc, must be reproduced in the same fashion. If the recreation requires extra cost for the agency they have the legal rights to charge the person requesting the records the cost to be reimbursed.

Mississippi Electronic Public Records

In 1996 Mississippi made changes to the public records law to keep up with the age of technology, requiring all agencies to offer the public the right to access any electronic records they have available. This means any recordings, videos, emails, etc that are legally allowed to be released must be accessible to the public.

There is a fee for these records and it is up to the discretion of the agency as long as it does not go over the cost of reproduction and the cost of efforts for the reproduction. This includes but is not limited to:

The wage of the employee who is gathering and processing the records requested
The media used in order to duplicate the records, (i.e C.D, tapes, flash drives, etc.)
Cost per page for paper documents
Cost for any professional service to re-create the information

Mississippi State Public Records Statement

(Public Records Act § 25-61-) Short Title states that it is the responsibility and duty of all parties who hold federal records or information to release that information to the public where legally allowed.

In an age where electronic information is easily obtainable, every Mississippi resident should have the right to review all legally releasable documentation when requested.

Where can you Obtain Mississippi State Public Records?

You can request public records through the online request form:
Public Records Request online form
Or print and mail or fax request:
Public Records Request paper form for mailing or faxing

You can mail your requests to:

Public Records Liaison
Office of Communications, Osborne 100
Mississippi State Department of Health
P. O. Box 1700, Jackson, MS 39215-1700
Or fax to:
601-576-7517

Do You Have to Pay a Fee to Obtain Records?

You may be required to pay a fee for the records you are requesting. If this is the case you are responsible for paying this fee before any records are released.

The reasons for the fees are for the reproduction cost and labor required to retrieve them. Fees set by each jurisdiction are not to exceed the amount of money it cost to re-create the documentation and the labor involved in retrieving the information and preparing the documentation.

What Records are For Public Viewing?

All records held by Federal Government agencies only are available to the public through an online portal, mail-in request, or faxed request. You may be denied records requests for the reason listed in the article below.

  • Autopsy Reports
  • Contracts, proposals, and bids
  • Collective bargaining records
  • Election records
  • Salary
  • Qualifications for jobs
  • Police Records – Legally allowed by the act to be closed to the public but is usually released when requested
  • Accident reports
  • Police blotter – When the case is closed and may have information redacted
  • 911 tapes – When the case is closed and may have information redacted
  • Investigatory records
  • Arrest records.
  • Compilations of criminal histories-Some information may be redacted
  • Victims – If the case is closed
  • Confessions – Some information may be redacted
  • Mug shots
  • Public utility records
  • Public school – certified administrators evaluations
  • Birth certificates
  • Marriage & divorce
  • Death certificates

Can Record Requests be Denied?

Records requests can be denied for, but not limited to, HIPAA-protected health and medical information, records containing personal information, and the information of personnel on agency records.

If your request is denied, you will get this notification by mail and you have the right to file an appeal.

Records not for Public Access or Stated in the FOIA:

  • Public school cumulative files and documentation
  • Student records – Including students personal information and legal documentation
  • Bank records
  • Business records, financial data, trade secrets
  • Coroners reports
  • Hospital reports – including but not limited to patient’s stay, medical information, files, staff records, etc.
  • Personnel Records
  • Disciplinary records
  • Police Records – Covered under the act to be closed by law, but some may be available for public record
  • Police blotter – If the case is still open
  • 911 tapes – If the case is still open
  • Investigative reports
  • Criminal history reports
  • Confessions
  • Confidential informants
  • Police techniques
  • Real estate appraisals, negotiations – Until closing

How Long Does it Take to Receive the Records Requested?

The amount of time it takes to receive request records will depend on the type of information. However, most records requests are processed within 7-14 business days.

Where Do You Obtain Court Records?

A lawyer working directly with the court system can obtain court records. If you need a copy of your court record, you will have to contact your attorney.

You can also request court records through the Pacer system PACER, Public Access to Court Electronic Records.

Mississippi Supreme Court

Mississippi Supreme court records are considered public records and are available to the public.

Information in these records will include court rulings, judgments, and orders from all cases that go through the supreme court system minus the cases that have been sealed. Information that is redacted from these documents is but not limited to; judgments and opinions, the information used to come to the overall determination in the judgments, personal information that may be illegal to view.

You can access these reports by requesting from the Supreme Courts Clerks Office. Records requested will require a fee for any copies made.

Criminal Records Search in Mississippi

Criminal records in Mississippi are open for public viewing. These records contain the criminal history of those who have committed a misdemeanor or felony crime in each jurisdiction. These records include their charges, arrests, indictments, and sentencing.

What is Found on a Criminal History Record Report in Mississippi?

You will find a list of the individual’s personal information and crime-related information on a criminal record.

  • Name, date of birth, gender, nationality, and ethnicity
  • The distinctive physical features of a person (i.e. scars, tattoos, etc.)
  • Mugshot
  • Fingerprints
  • Criminal offenses
  • Arrest history
  • Convictions and thrown out conviction
  • Arrest warrant

How to Request Criminal History Reports

You can request your criminal history report through the Mississippi Department of Public Safety. Complete the Release Background Authorization Form, and submit it with a valid copy of your driver’s license.

The documentation may take up to 30 days before records are received, and if you are trying to release it to a third party, you must provide their information in full on the application.

How Long Will Arrest Information Stay On a Record?

Arrest information will stay on your record forever unless you are able to have the information expunged.

    1. Under the Mississippi code Ann. § 99-19-71(1), any first-time offender who received a misdemeanor conviction may petition the court to have this offense expunged from their records unless the offense is a traffic violation.
    2. You may also request to have one felony expunged from your records in your life-time and only 5 years after you have completed your sentence. Code Ann. § 99-19-71(2)(a)
    3. If you were under 21 years of age at the time of the felony conviction, you may be eligible to request that felony to be expunged under the code, Ann. §§ 97-3-2, 99-19-71(2)(b). This excludes convictions of violent felonies.
      • Rape
      • Burglary of a residential home or business
      • Manslaughter
      • Murder
      • Burglary

Offenders are only eligible for this expungement once in their lifetime.

  1. If you were arrested and charged with a controlled substance violation, you will be able to have those records expunged after completing your sentencing. (Ann. § 41-29-150)

What Do Arrest Records in Mississippi Show?

In Mississippi, any criminal offense will have a detailed outline of the act committed and documentation of the procedures taken during everything leading up to the arrest, the sentencing, and the time served.

These records will include:

  • Name, date of birth, race, ethnicity, hair, and eye color
  • Defining features (i.e. tattoos and scars)
  • Reason for arrest (whether charged or not)
  • Charges
  • Where the sentence is being held
  • Release date

How Can You Search for Arrest Records in Mississippi?

You can search for an arrest record in Mississippi by visiting their website, https://courts.ms.gov/mec/mec.php.

You can also request arrest records by county following this link https://courts.ms.gov/mec/mec.php

Who Can Access Arrest Records?

Arrest records are public records. Anyone can request these records by following the information above.

What are Accessible Arrests on Arrest Records in Mississippi

Arrest records show information and documentation regarding any type of criminal activity. The Mississippi records available to the public regarding these offenses are not limited to, but include:

  • Drug-related crimes: Including illegal use, possession, selling, or producing illegal substances such as heroin, cocaine, amphetamines, cannabis, etc.
  • Burglary – Breaking into a residence and being caught with stolen items on their person
  • Assault and Battery – Purposely injuring another human being in the act of violence
  • Theft – When someone takes another person’s property, This includes petty theft, larceny, grand larceny
  • DWI and DUI – Driving under any type of influence that could put yourself or others in danger Driving under the influence could anyway impair your ability to control your vehicle
  • Traffic Violations – Committing any type of illegal traffic violations
  • Disorderly conduct – Someone who disturbs the public, including public fights, loud noises after hours, interrupting assemblies, etc.
  • Fraud – Falsifying documentation to gain access to something that is not yours or to disguise yourself and identify yourself as another person
  • Vandalism – Destroying or defacing property that does not belong to you

What Types of Arrest Records are in Mississippi?

There are different types of arrest records that can be requested in Mississippi State:

  • Arrest records
  • Juvenile records
  • Felony records
  • Misdemeanor records
  • Infraction records

All information regarding arrest records can be found at https://courts.ms.gov/mec/mec.php.

Warrant Records Search In Mississippi

In the state of Mississippi, an arrest warrant is a legal document signed by a judge allowing police officers to find and arrest a person suspected of a criminal act. Warrants may also be given to authorities, allowing them to search and seize valuable evidence from their home, vehicle, business, etc.

How to Request Arrest Warrant Records from Law Enforcement in Mississippi

Anyone has the ability to search for an arrest warrant in Mississippi. You can do this by going to the county where the offense took place and search their online database. No fee is required for this information.

You can also look up arrest records for Mississippi through (Mississippi Arrests website.) or on the Mississippi Department of Corrections Website.

If you believe you have an active arrest warrant, you or someone you trust may contact your local authorities by phone and ask if there is a warrant out for you.

What is on an Active Arrest Warrant?

An active arrest warrant contains your personal information, description (picture if available), the crime committed or suspected, and where it took place.

What is a Bench Warrant?

A bench warrant is issued when an individual charged with a crime does not show up for their scheduled court date.

Mississippi Inmate Records

In Mississippi, the public has a right to inmate information and records. You can access records of all inmates serving in a Mississippi facility from the Mississippi Department of Corrections Inmate Search.

What’s On An Inmate Record in Mississippi?

An inmate record in Mississippi includes all information related to the inmate and the facility they are located in. Information may include:

  • Personal Information: Name, Date of Birth, Sex
  • Inmate ID number
  • Inmates description: Race, Height, Build, Hair and Eye Color, Complexion
  • Date of the charged offense
  • Location of the charged offense
  • Location of holding facility
  • Number of sentences
  • Length of sentence
  • Detailed information on sentences-where the crimes took place, how many years for each crime, etc.
  • Inmates location changes
  • Tentative release date

What is on a Parolee’s Record and How Can I Obtain Records?

A parolee is someone given permission to leave prison before their sentence has expired. These offenders are released back into society in hopes of rehabilitating them. Because these criminals are being released back into the public, the public has a right to access their parolee records.

You can obtain information on Mississippi Parolees by going to the Parolee database search website.

Information regarding parolees available to the public is as follows:

  • Parolee name
  • Parolee ID number
  • Date of Birth
  • Sex
  • County of offense
  • Supervising Officer
  • Parolee charges and offenses

Sex Offender Information in Mississippi

In the State of Mississippi, the public has a right to know information regarding all sex offenders and their locations for their personal safety. You can get detailed documentation regarding sex offenders in your area by looking it up on the sex offenders search website.

On the Offenders search site, you can look up an offender by name, or search any specific area or location to see if there are any listed sex offenders residing in that area.

What Information is on the Sex Offender Registration in Mississippi?

On the sex offender registration, you can learn a lot of information regarding the people who have been convicted of any sexual crimes violent or non-violent. Crimes that fall under the sex offender list are, but not limited to, rape, sexual battery, statutory rape, unnatural intercourse, rape with intent to ravish, etc.

The information available on a sex offenders registry:

  • Photo Identification
  • Personal information: name, date of birth, age, sex, race
  • Current address
  • Other address of residence
  • Physical description: height, weight, eye color, hair color
  • Unique description: Tattoos, scars, etc.
  • Vehicle information
  • Date of conviction
  • Location of crime
  • The offense code
  • The offense

Vital Records in Mississippi

Vital records are any type of government records kept regarding the history of a person’s life:

  • Birth certificates
  • Marriage license or certificate
  • Separation agreements
  • Divorce certificate
  • Death certificate

How to request Vital Records in Mississippi

In Mississippi State, you can request all vital records through the Vital Records Department. Or contact the local municipality where the original records would have been kept.

    1. To request records by mail, fill out the form required, along with payment, and mail to:


Mississippi Vital Records
P.O. Box 1700
Jackson, MS 39215-1700

    1. Order online or by phone through a private service, pay by credit card.
    2. Request in Person bringing along with you the completed form and payment:


222 Marketridge Dr
Ridgeland, MS 39157
Payments Permitted when mailed: Bank or postal money order, personal check, or cashier’s check.

All applications must come with a copy of valid proof of ID.
Marriage record application form
Application for Certified Copy of Birth Certificate
Application for Certified Copy of Death Certificate

Is There a Fee For Vital Records in Mississippi?

Yes, you will be charged for each vital records request. All fees are required before records are released. These records are subject to a fee to account for the cost to recreate the document. The fees for each record are listed below.

  • Birth Certificates – $17 for the certificate, and a $6 fee for any duplicate copies of that same birth certificate.
  • Marriage or Divorce Record – $17 for the certificate and a $6 fee for any duplicate copies of the same marriage or divorce record. (Divorce records must be requested through your county courthouse)
  • Death Certificate- $17 for the certificate and a $6 fee for any duplicate copies of the same death certificate.

Business and Licensing Records in Mississippi

You can request business and licensing records through the Mississippi state’s Insurance department.

Actuarial Division

Information accessible to the public in the actuarial division is that of life, accident, and insurance companies. Information and memorandums of medicare are not available as public records.

Consumer Service Division

The Consumer Service Division is responsible for filing and maintaining information and documentation related to customer complaints and inquiries regarding a business.

With the request, you will be given the company’s name, phone number, address, and the number of complaints and inquiries that the company has received.

*Closed complaint files may only be requested by mail.

Financial and Market Regulation Division

The Financial and Market Regulations Division is responsible for maintaining and reviewing any insurance company that is engaged with a business.

Information accessible:

  • Company information such as name, location, phone number
  • Name or names of the director
  • Date the license was given
  • The state in which the company will hold a license
  • Complete asset totals
  • Liabilities
  • Businesses capital
  • Surplus of the business
  • Annual Statement Filing – Only available for viewing
  • Quarterly Statement Filing – Only available for viewing
  • Annual Statement Filings – Only available through written request
  • Quarterly Statement Filings – Only available through written request
  • Examination Reports – Only available through written request

Licensing Division

The Licensing Division in Mississippi is responsible for managing the information and documentation on insurance companies, third party administrators, auto clubs, agents, adjusters, bail bondsmen, and HMO’s

The information available to the public is the company’s address, phone number, licensed date, and the lines of insurance contracted.

Property And Casualty Rating Division

The Property and Casualty Rating Division is dedicated to maintaining information and documentation regarding their reviews of and insurance companies filing before the approval of Mississippi is granted.

You may visit the office to view or make copies of these records. All copies will require a fee at the time of service.

Bankruptcy Records in Mississippi

Bankruptcy records are considered public records in the State of Mississippi. Unless sealed by the courts all information relating to bankruptcy procedures are available through the Mississippi Records:
https://www.uscourts.gov/forms/bankruptcy-forms/application-search-bankruptcy-records-0

Property Records in Mississippi

There are property records that are available to the public these records include but are not limited to:

  • Conveyance
  • Deeds
  • Who owns what land
  • Land transactions

For information regarding property records, you will need to contact the Public Land Division by; Phone:(601) 359-6373
Fax:(601) 359-1461
Or by mail:
P. O. Box 136 Jackson, MS 39205.

Mississippi Morbidity Reports

The Mississippi Morbidity Reports are files documenting public disease and the information and data surrounding it. The information recorded in the details of the file are, diseases that are spreading and the progress of the outbreak. The illness can be foodborne, person to person, sexually transmitted, waterborne, animal transmitted, etc.

What is a Child Abuse and Neglect Central Registry?

The Central Registry Report is used to maintain records of child abuse and neglect cases. These records are kept on file and available for review in order to identify those who were previously abusive towards a child.

These records are not public records nor can they be requested for viewing. However, these records are available for those who are seeking information regarding the employment of or care of children and are legally cleared to access this information.

The Child Abuse and Neglect Central Registry was developed to compile all offenders who have been charged with child abuse in any fashion, making it easy to determine who is safe to work directly with children.

Historical Records in Mississippi

In Mississippi, genealogy records are considered public records and can be accessed by https://www.mdah.ms.gov/genealogy.

Dawes Rolls

The Dawes Act was put in place to give tribal members from Native American Heritage new citizenship rolls for each tribal member. This granted them and their families a communal part of land once approved. In order to receive this roll each family had to be residing in an Indian Territory.

The 5 tribes included:

  1. Cherokee
  2. Chickasaw
  3. Choctaw
  4. Creek and
  5. Seminole Tribes in Oklahoma

These records provide personal information regarding the heritage of many ancestors to these tribes. Common requests regarding these records include a census card, enrollment jacket, and land allotted jackets.

Census cards: Name and all variations of spelling, parents names and their extended families, nearby post offices or the residence address, the tribal enrollment, age and gender, birth, death, marital statuses,

Enrollment Jackets: Census card, Name and all variations of name spelling, parents and extended families, address or the closest post office, tribal enrollments, affidavits from anyone who knew the person in the request., information regarding birthdate, deaths, marital statuses.

Land Allotted Jackets: Names of parents and their extended families, location of land, the definition of land per legal guides, improvements made on the land, annotated maps, notice of contested allotment.

Genealogy Records in Mississippi

Records that qualify for public request in the state of Mississippi can be found in the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

Death Records

Death records ranging from the years 1912-1943, and can give information regarding the deceased parents and their location of birth.

The public can review Historical death records via microfilm and microfiche.

Census Records

The most recent open census is the census of 1940. The census records include detailed information on who was living in the country in 1940 and important information regarding the way of life and the difficulties people may have faced at the time.

These records include but are not limited to:

  • Internal migration
  • Employment status
  • New Deal programs
  • Supplement schedules
  • Territorial censuses

Historical County records

Historical records available are regarding court cases from 1817-1921. These records can include but are not limited to marriage licenses, land deeds, tax records, and wills.

Freedmen’s Bureau Index

This index holds the name of over 36,000 slaves that were residing in Mississippi in 1860, although there were over 400,000. These contracts have the name of those former slaves, where they worked (in a plantation, and its county if available, age (if available), family relationships (if available), Their employers, their term of pay (crops, money, both), and possible health issues or concerns (if available)

Terms of pay are not accessible through public records.

You can also request records for the marriage licenses for the former slaves and their marriages through the freedmen’s bureau index.

The Freedmen’s Bureau Records search

Military records

These records compile documents of Mississippians who have served in the many wars throughout history. These records can include confederate records, military departments, U.S. Military records, State Auditors Confederate pension files, Veterans affairs records, and other government documentation

These collections hold military history books along with services and payroll, and photographs from that period of time.

Enumeration of Educable

The Enumeration of Educable contains information on school-aged children and their families. These files are recordings of children starting from the 1880s from ages 5-18. These files may show names of children who lived in Mississippi but were not mentioned on the census reports.
*Fees will be charged to make copies of any records

What Happens if my Records Request Cannot be Found or Completed?

If the records you have requested cannot be located or are not allowed to be released or can only be partially released you will receive a letter explaining the reason for the denial.

In Mississippi, a denial letter for every request is kept on file for up to 3 years for review and inspections.

The most common reasons for record request denials are as follows:

  • Medical Records
  • Records involving personal information that can not be publicly released
  • Agency personnel records

If you wish to appeal any denial you can do so through the agency for internal review, the Ethics Commission, or in the court system.

If you have requested records in which are redacted or can only be partially filled you will receive these records within 14 business days.

Laws That Helped Change and Improve Mississippi’s Public Records Laws

Although public records laws were set in 1967, they have progressively changed over time due to some problems that come forth with the blurred lines in the act. These issues were resolved through court hearings and adding to the act to help protect all those involved.

  1. In Roberts v. Mississippi Republican Party Executive Committee, 465 So. 2d 1050 (Miss. 1985) – This case helped create the cap on records fees to not exceed the cost of reproducing the documentation.
  2. Mississippi Publishers Corp. v. Coleman, 515 So. 2d 1163 (Miss. 1987) – This act stated that no records should be made public that could take away a person’s right to a fair trial.
  3. Caldwell & Gregory, Inc. v. University of Southern Mississippi 716 So. 2d 1120 (Miss. 1998) – This case helped to create more laws regarding business plans and trade secrets
  4. Fred’s Stores, Inc. v. M & H Drugs, Inc., 725 So. 2d 902 (Miss. 1998) – This case too, helped to exempt trade secrets from the public law act.
  5. W. T. Rawleigh Co. v. Hester, 190 Miss. 329, 200 So. 250, 254 (Miss. 1941) – This case was used to help solidify the right to inspect public records in the sheriff’s office.
  6. Pollard v. State, 205 So. 2d 286, 288 (Miss. 1967)
  7. Harrison County Development Comm’n v. Kinney, 920 So. 2d 497 (Miss. 2006) – This case made it mandatory for records of the circuit and chancery clerk’s office to be made as public records and available to the public.
  8. Mayor and Aldermen v. Vicksburg Printing & Publishing Co., 434 So. 2d 1333, 1336 (Miss. 1983) – This case led to the laws stating that no public records should be harder to access than the access from the state and public record meeting laws.
  9. Board of Trustees v. Miss. Publishers Corp., 478 So. 2d 269 (Miss. 1985) – This case was based around the failure of the Personnel exemptions.
  10. State Oil & Gas Bd. v. McGowan, 542 So. 2d 244 (Miss. 1989)
Background Hawk - Team

Background Hawk - Team

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