BJS: Bureau of Justice Statistics

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Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)
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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: 2013

Collects inmate death records from each of the nation's 50 state prison systems and approximately 2,800 local jail jurisdictions. Between 2003 and 2014, BJS also collected data on person who died while in the process of arrest.

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
    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
    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 Reporting instructions | 2009 PDF (176K) | 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
    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). BJS collects data on individual death records for all persons incarcerated in state prison or local jail facilities annually. Between 2003 and 2014, BJS also collected data on person who died while in the process of arrest.

    The DCRP began in 2000 after the passage of the Death in Custody Reporting Act of 2000 (P.L. 106-297). The original law lapsed at yearend 2006, but BJS continued to collect the data on a voluntary basis until the reauthorization of the Death in Custody Reporting Act in December of 2014 (P.L. 113-242).

    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. An average of 98% of the approximately 2,800 jail jurisdictions in the U.S. have reported to the DCRP since 2000.

    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).

    Aggregate death counts are reported to BJS by the federal 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 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).

    Due to concerns regarding data quality and coverage issues, BJS temporarily suspended the arrest-related death portion (ARD) of the DCRP in 2014.

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    Changes Over Time

    Since 2007, BJS has given respondents the option to report throughout the collection year as death investigations are finalized. In earlier collection years, BJS requested respondents report on a quarterly basis.

    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.

     

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    Publications & Products

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

    Assessing Inmate Cause of Death: Deaths in Custody Reporting Program and National Death Index Provides a technical review of the coverage and quality of inmate cause of death data collected under BJS's Deaths in Custody Reporting Program (DCRP).
      PDF (439K) | ASCII file (89K) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format 43K)


    Correctional Populations in the United States, 2014 Presents statistics on persons supervised by adult correctional systems in the United States at yearend 2014, including offenders supervised in the community on probation or parole and those incarcerated in state or federal prison or local jail.
      PDF (641K) | ASCII file (26K) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format 48K)
    Part of the Correctional Populations in the United States Series

    Assessment of Coverage in the Arrest-Related Deaths Program Provides an executive summary of the Arrest-Related Deaths (ARD) component of the Deaths in Custody Reporting Program (DCRP) technical assessment report. Data from the ARD represent a national accounting of persons who have died during the process of arrest, including homicides by law enforcement personnel and deaths attributed to suicide, intoxication, accidental injury, and natural causes.
      PDF (501KB) | ASCII file (4KB) | Comma-delimited (CSV) (Zip format 4KB)
    Part of the Arrest-Related Deaths Series

    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

    Arrest-Related Deaths Program Assessment: Technical Report Provides a technical assessment of the coverage of the Arrest-Related Deaths (ARD) component of the Deaths in Custody Reporting Program (DCRP).
      PDF (1.4M) | ASCII file (114K) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format 37M)
    Part of the Arrest-Related Deaths Series

    Arrest-Related Deaths Program: Data Quality Profile Provides a data quality profile of the Arrest-Related Deaths (ARD) component of the Deaths in Custody Reporting Program (DCRP).
      PDF (609K) | ASCII file (65K) | Zip format (59K)
    Part of the Arrest-Related Deaths 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

    Correctional Populations in the United States, 2013 U.S. CORRECTIONAL POPULATION DECLINED BY LESS THAN 1 PERCENT FOR THE SECOND CONSECUTIVE YEAR
      Press Release
    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

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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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