BJS: Bureau of Justice Statistics

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Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)
Home  | Data Collection Detail

Data Collection: Deaths in Custody Reporting Program (DCRP)
Status: Active
Frequency: Annually starting in 2000 for jails; 2001 for state prisons; and 2003 for deaths in the process of arrest
Latest data available: 2012

Collects inmate death records from each of the nation's 50 state prison systems and approximately 2,800 local jail jurisdictions. In addition, this program collects records of all deaths occurring during the process of arrest. Data are collected directly from state and local law enforcement agencies.

Death records include information on decedent personal characteristics (age, race or Hispanic origin, and sex), decedent criminal background (legal status, offense type, and time served), and the death itself (date, time, location, and cause of death, as well as information on the autopsy and medical treatment provided for any illness or disease).

Data collections covering these populations were developed in annual phases: Annual collection of individual death records from local jail facilities began in 2000, followed by a separate collection for state prison facilities in 2001. Collection of state juvenile correctional agencies began in 2002 but was discontinued in 2006, and collection of arrest-related death records began in 2003. Datasets are produced in an annual format.

On This Page

Data Experts

  • Margaret Noonan, BJS statistician (jail and prison deaths)
  • Michael Planty, Ph.D., BJS statistician (arrest-related deaths)
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    Collection Period

    From 2000 to the present

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    Questionnaires

    Annual Summary of Inmate Deaths in State Prisons NPS-4
    2011 PDF (113K) | 2010 PDF (112K) | 2009 PDF (150K) | 2008 PDF (128K) | 2007 PDF | 2006 PDF | 2005 PDF | 2004 PDF
    Annual Summary on Inmates Under Jail Jurisdiction CJ-9A
    2013 PDF (160K) | 2012 PDF | 2011 PDF (223K) | 2010 PDF (222K) | 2009 PDF (192K) | 2008 PDF (160K) | 2007 PDF | 2006 PDF | 2005 PDF | 2004 PDF | 2003 PDF
    Annual Summary on Inmates in Private and Multi-Jurisdiction Jails CJ-10A
    2013 PDF (208K) | 2012 PDF (209K) | 2011 PDF (217K) | 2010 PDF (217K) | 2009 PDF (192K) | 2008 PDF (159K) | 2007 PDF | 2006 PDF | 2005 PDF | 2004 PDF | 2003 PDF
    Arrest Related Deaths CJ-11A (Formerly Law Enforcement Custodial Death Report)
    2011 PDF (516KB) | 2010 PDF (513KB) | 2009 PDF (349K) | 2009 Reporting instructions | 2008 PDF (174K) | 2007 PDF | 2006 PDF | 2005 PDF | 2004 PDF | 2003 PDF
    Death Report on Inmates Under Jail Jurisdiction CJ-9
    2014 PDF (213K) | 2013 PDF | 2012 PDF (239K) | 2011 PDF (78K) | 2010 PDF (77K) | 2009 PDF (208K) | 2008 PDF (67K) | 2007 PDF | 2006 PDF | 2005 PDF | 2004 PDF
    Death Report on Inmates in Private and Multi-Jurisdictional Jails CJ-10
    2014 PDF (215K) | 2013 PDF (225K) | 2012 PDF (238K) | 2011 PDF (78K) | 2010 PDF (77K) | 2009 PDF (208K) | 2008 PDF (66K) | 2007 PDF | 2006 PDF | 2005 PDF | 2004 PDF | 2003 PDF
    Quarterly Summary Arrest-Related Deaths CJ-11 (Formerly Quarterly Summary of Deaths in Law Enforcement Custody)
    2011 PDF (423KB) | 2010-2011 CJ-11 Reporting Instructions | 2010 PDF (473KB) | 2009 PDF (176K) | 2009 Reporting instructions | 2008 PDF (173K) | 2007 PDF | 2006 PDF | 2005 PDF | 2004 PDF | 2003 PDF
    Quarterly Summary of Deaths in State Juvenile Residential Facilities NPS-5
    2007 PDF (178K) | 2006 PDF | 2005 PDF | 2004 PDF
    State Juvenile Residential Death Report NPS-5A
    2007 PDF (176K) | 2006 PDF | 2005 PDF | 2004 PDF | 2003 PDF
    State Prison Inmate Death Report NPS-4A
    2014 PDF (71K) | 2013 PDF (70K) | 2012 PDF (112K) | 2011 PDF (70K) | 2010 PDF (69K) | 2009 PDF (190K) | 2008 PDF (137K) | 2007 PDF | 2006 PDF | 2005 PDF | 2004 PDF
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    Documentation

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    Methodology

    The Deaths in Custody Reporting Program (DCRP) is a data collection conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). The DCRP began in 2000 under the Death in Custody Reporting Act of 2000 (P.L. 106-297). BJS collects data on individual death records for all persons incarcerated in state prison or local jail facilities annually, and any person who is in the process of arrest.

    Jails report the death of any inmate in their custody, even if the inmate was being held for another jurisdiction, such as the state department of corrections, another state or county, or the federal government. Jail deaths include the death of any inmate sent outside the jail facility for medical, mental health or substance abuse treatment services, or for work-release programs. Deaths that occur while an inmate is in transit to or from the jail facility are included. Deaths of jail inmates on temporary furloughs or who escaped from the jail facility are excluded. BJS collects death records and yearend collections of population and admissions data from all jail jurisdictions nationwide annually. In each year at least 97% of approximately 2,800 jail jurisdictions nationwide responded to the collection.

    State prisoner death counts include the death of any inmate held in a private prison facility under contract to the state's department of corrections. Deaths of inmates in private facilities are counted in the state that had jurisdiction over the inmate, not the state where the private facility is located. State prisons report the death of any inmate sent outside the prison facility for treatment services or for work-release programs. Deaths that occur while a prisoner is in transit to or from the prison are included. Deaths of prisoners on temporary furloughs or who escaped from the prison facility are excluded. Executions are excluded because capital punishment cases are tracked under the National Prisoner Statistics (NPS) program. In each year all 50 state departments of corrections responded to the collection. The District of Columbia submitted prison population data until 2001, then it transferred all custody operations to the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP).

    Federal prisons are not covered by PL.106-297, but aggregate death counts are reported to BJS by the Bureau of Prisons. When the Death in Custody Reporting Act of 2000 was passed, only two states (California and Texas) collected information on all types of arrest-related deaths. For the remaining 48 states and the District of Columbia, the new DCRP collection was the first attempt to perform a comprehensive count of all arrest-related deaths. BJS worked with state officials to determine which agency would collect arrest-related death reports. A state criminal justice commission, commonly administered by the governor's office, was the most common data reporting contact (22 states), followed by the state attorney general and state police department (8 states each). In five states, the department of corrections took a lead role in compiling records. In over 30 states, the reporting office also served as a state criminal justice Statistical Analysis Center (SAC).

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    Changes Over Time

    Prior to the expiration of the Death in Custody Act of 2000, BJS collected death records quarterly. The quarterly schedule was a requirement of the act. Respondents were asked to base death records on an official death evaluation, which typically took months to complete. To accommodate respondents, BJS gave them the option to report annually after the act expired. The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) assumed responsibility for the juvenile portion of the collection in 2006.

    In 2008, BJS began collecting more specific information on the manner of death for suicides and deaths due to intoxication. In 2009, BJS changed and added several items on the data collection forms after receiving feedback from the field. These changes include clarifying language of existing items and adding new items. For jails and prisons, new items ask respondents— 

    • whether the deceased ever had an overnight stay in a mental health facility since admission
    • whether the death was incidental to use of force by facility staff
    • to specify the type of intoxication that led to the death.

    For prisons, BJS dropped the item asking for legal status because nearly all prisoners are convicted at the time of death. Prison items include whether a death due to accident, suicide, or homicide took place while the inmate was housed on death row.

    For arrest-related deaths, new items ask respondents—

    • whether the deceased ever had an overnight stay in a mental health facility since admission
    • whether the death was incidental to use of force by staff
    • to specify the type of intoxication that led to the death
    • to expand on the behaviors and actions of the deceased during the fatal event
    • to describe the behavior and actions of officially booked decedents and arresting officers prior to booking.

    In prior years, BJS asked about the post-booking actions and behaviors of formally booked decedents and about the pre-booking actions and behaviors of decedents who died prior to formal booking. Jails and prisons have had very stable response rates, but the arrest-relaed deaths collection has had some changes in reporting over the years.

     

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    Publications & Products

    The following publications and products were generated by BJS using data from this collection.

    Mortality in Local Jails and State Prisons, 2000–2013 - Statistical Tables Present inmate death records from each of the nation's 50 state prison systems. Death records include information on decedent personal characteristics (age, race or Hispanic origin, and sex), decedent criminal background (legal status, offense type, and time served), and the death itself (date, time, location, and cause of death, as well as information on the autopsy and medical treatment provided
      Press Release | Summary (PDF 223KB) | PDF (2.3MB) | ASCII file (46KB) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format 66KB)
    Part of the Mortality in Local Jails and State Prisons Series

    Correctional Populations in the United States, 2013 Presents statistics on offenders supervised by adult correctional systems in the United States at yearend 2013, including offenders supervised in the community on probation or parole and those incarcerated in prison or local jail.
      Press Release | PDF (385K) | ASCII file (23K) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format 36K)
    Part of the Correctional Populations in the United States Series

    Mortality in Local Jails and State Prisons, 2000–2012 - Statistical Tables Presents national and state-level data on the number of inmate deaths that occurred in local jails and state prisons, the distribution of deaths across jails, and the aggregate count of deaths in federal prisons.
      Press Release | PDF (2M) | ASCII file (23K) | Zip format (98K)
    Part of the Mortality in Local Jails and State Prisons Series

    Mortality in Local Jails and State Prisons, 2000-2011 - Statistical Tables Presents national and state-level data on the number of inmate deaths that occurred in local jails and state prisons, how the deaths are distributed across jails, and an aggregate count of deaths in federal prisons.
      Press Release | PDF (2.1M) | ASCII file (46K) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format 58K)
    Part of the Mortality in Local Jails and State Prisons Series

    Mortality in Local Jails and State Prisons, 2000-2011 - Statistical Tables NUMBER OF JAIL DEATHS AT LOWEST RECORDED LEVEL DURING 2011 State prison deaths up four percent
      Press Release
    Part of the Mortality in Local Jails and State Prisons Series

    Mortality in Local Jails and State Prisons, 2000-2010 - Statistical Tables Presents national and state-level data on the number of inmate deaths that occurred in local jails and state prisons, and includes aggregated data on deaths in federal prisons.
      Press Release | PDF (1.11M) | ASCII file (23K) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format 40K)
    Part of the Mortality in Local Jails and State Prisons Series

    Prison and Jail Deaths in Custody, 2000-2009 - Statistical Tables Provides data on the number and causes of deaths that occurred in state prison or local jail custody.
      Press Release | PDF (675K) | ASCII file (19K) | Spreadsheet (Zip format 38K)
    Part of the Mortality in Local Jails and State Prisons Series

    Prison and Jail Deaths in Custody, 2000-2009 - Statistical Tables NUMBER OF DEATHS IN LOCAL JAILS DECLINED IN 2008 AND 2009
      Press Release
    Part of the Mortality in Local Jails and State Prisons Series

    Deaths in Custody Reporting Program, 2007 (Update) Contains a series of data tables describing recent trends in mortality in state prison, local jails, and during the process of arrest by state and local law enforcement officers.
      State Prison Deaths, 2001-2007 (HTML) | Local Jail Deaths, 2000-2007 (HTML) | State and Local Law Enforcement Arrest-related Deaths, 2003-2006 - Statistical Tables (HTML)
    Part of the Mortality in Local Jails and State Prisons Series

    Deaths in Custody: State Prison Deaths, 2001-2007 - Statistical Tables These tables provide national data on both the number and rate of prison deaths, by cause and over time, as well as specific data on each state's prisons. Tables include basic data on the number and characteristics of deaths reported each year by all 50 state prison systems.
      Part of the Mortality in Local Jails and State Prisons Series

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    Related Topics

  • Corrections
  • Law Enforcement
  • Corrections | Local jail inmates and jail facilities
  • Corrections | State and federal prisoners and prison facilities
  • Corrections | Special populations
  • Corrections | Deaths in Custody Reporting Program
  • Corrections | Deaths in Custody Reporting Program | Local Jails
  • Corrections | Deaths in Custody Reporting Program | State Prisons
  • Corrections | Deaths in Custody Reporting Program | Federal Prisons
  • Corrections | Deaths in Custody Reporting Program | State Juvenile Facilities
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