BJS: Bureau of Justice Statistics

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Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)
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Arrest-Related Deaths
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The Arrest-Related Deaths (ARD) program is an annual national census of persons who died either during the process of arrest or while in the custody of state or local law enforcement personnel. The ARD program collects data on civilian deaths caused by any use of force by state or local law enforcement personnel as well as those not directly related to actions of law enforcement, such as deaths attributed to suicide, intoxication, accidental injury, and illness or natural causes.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) uses the term “arrest-related” to capture all circumstances associated with the actions or events that occurred during an attempt by law enforcement to detain an individual. BJS defines a death as arrest-related when the event that caused the death (e.g., gunshot wound, cardiac arrest, or drowning) occurred during an interaction with state or local law enforcement personnel. Except for innocent bystanders, hostages, and law enforcement personnel, all juvenile and adult deaths of criminal suspects and noncriminal individuals attributed to events that occurred while the decedent either attempted to elude police during the course of apprehension or while in the custody of law enforcement are reportable to the ARD program.

BJS implemented the ARD program to comply with requirements set forth in the Death in Custody Reporting Act of 2000 (Public Law 106-297), which required the collection of data on deaths that occurred in the process of arrest, during transfer, or while detained in jail or prison. BJS began quarterly data collections to cover all inmate deaths in local jails (2000), state prisons (2001), and juvenile correctional facilities (2002) under the umbrella of the Deaths in Custody Reporting Program (DCRP). In 2003, BJS expanded the DCRP to include a data collection program on arrest-related deaths.

BJS implemented a state-based ARD reporting system in which State Reporting Coordinators (SRCs) in all 50 states and the District of Columbia are responsible for identifying and reporting all eligible cases of arrest-related deaths to BJS. Following the publication of Arrest-Related Deaths, 2003-2009 – Statistical Tables, BJS conducted an assessment of the validity and reliability of the ARD data. Results of the assessment indicate the ARD program methodology did not sufficiently identify a census of arrest-related deaths and that the data collection likely did not capture all reportable deaths in the process of arrest. Therefore, BJS determined that the ARD data did not meet BJS data quality standards, and in March 2014, BJS suspended data collection and publication of the ARD data until further notice.

Data Collections & Surveys

Publications & Products


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

Arrest-Related Deaths, 2003-2009 - Statistical Tables Provides data on the circumstances of deaths that occur during, or shortly after, state or local law enforcement officers engage in an arrest or restraint process.
  Press Release | PDF (1M) | ASCII file (23K) | Spreadsheet (Zip format 44K)
Part of the Arrest-Related Deaths Series

Arrest-Related Deaths, 2003-2009 - Statistical Tables MORE THAN 4,800 ARREST-RELATED DEATHS REPORTED FROM 2003 TO 2009
  Press Release
Part of the Arrest-Related Deaths Series

Deaths in Custody: Local Jail Deaths, 2000-2007- Statistical tables This web page provides basic data on the number and characteristics of deaths reported each year by approximately 3,000 local jails nationwide, and provide both national data on the number and rate of jail deaths, by cause and over time, as well as specific data on the nation's 50 largest jail jurisdictions.
 
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

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

Arrest-Related Deaths in the United States, 2003-2005 "States reported more than 2,000 arrest-related deaths from 2003 through 2005 -- Homicides by Officers Made Up More Than Half of Such Fatalities"
  Press Release | More information about this release
Part of the Arrest-Related Deaths Series

Arrest-Related Deaths in the United States, 2003-2005 Presents the first findings from the law enforcement collection of the Deaths in Custody Reporting Program (DCRP), which is the largest resource of information ever collected on arrest-related deaths.
  hi
Part of the Arrest-Related Deaths Series

Medical Causes of Death in State Prisons, 2001-2004 "Death rates lower in state prisons than in the general population"
  Press Release | More information about this release

Terms & Definitions

Arrest The act of detaining in legal custody. An "arrest" is the deprivation of a person's liberty by legal authority in response to a criminal charge.
 
Cause of death A description of the specific factors leading to the termination of the biological functions that sustain life
 
Homicide Killing of a human being by another human being. The ARD program gathers data on homicides that occur during an arrest process regardless of whether the homicide was attributed to law enforcement personnel or a civilian. Homicides by law enforcement personnel were included in the ARD collection because they resulted from a direct use of force by law enforcement officers. However, not all homicides by law enforcement personnel involve shooting deaths. Other types of homicides by law enforcement officers included deaths attributed to asphyxia during restraint, injuries sustained during an altercation, and the use of technologies such as, chemical sprays and conducted energy devices.
 
Manner of death An explanation of how a person died, typically illustrated by a one word description of the intentions and circumstances that led to the stated medical cause of death. Essentially, the manner of death is the way in which death was caused and is typically listed as natural, accident, homicide, suicide, or undetermined.
 
Natural Deaths attributed to natural agents such as illness or internal malfunctions of the body. The majority of arrest-related deaths recorded as "natural" were due to heart complications. Other natural deaths included complications from long term illnesses.