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Deaths in Custody in State Prisons and Local Jails

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PURPOSE

To provide a count of inmate deaths in state correctional facilities and local jails. This data collection was launched in 2000 to implement the Death in Custody Reporting Act of 2000 (Public Law 106-297). The United States Code, Titles 15 and 42, authorizes this data collection and provides for voluntary responses. The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) fully funds this collection.

COVERAGE

Collects data on deaths in state prisons and all correctional facilities that are administered by county and municipal governments (directly or under contract) and hold inmates beyond their initial arraignment (usually more than 48 hours).

CONTENT

Death reports are collected quarterly on deceased inmates. The death reports contain information on the characteristics of deceased inmates such as date of birth, date of death, gender, and cause of death. In addition to the death reports, an annual summary data is collected for local jails requesting one-day inmate counts of the jail, yearly admissions, average daily population, and total number of deaths.

FREQUENCY

Death reports are submitted quarterly for the state prison collection. For local jails, death reports are submitted quarterly and an annual summary is also collected.

METHODS

A mail-out census with mail, fax, or Web-based reporting options.

PRODUCTS

BJS is responsible for generating reports from the data files that are delivered annually by Census staff. Data are subject to confidentiality limitations.

USES

BJS uses the data as input for data tables describing recent trends in mortality in State prisons and local jails. Researchers use these data to analyze trends.

SPECIAL FEATURES

Provides the only source of mortality statistics in State prisons and local jails.

RELATED PROGRAMS

Census of Governments

Annual Survey of Jails

Annual Parole & Probation Surveys


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