DOJ Admits It Has No Idea How Many People Die In Law Enforcement Custody

The federal government has failed to count thousands of deaths in law enforcement custody over the past three years, the Department of Justice conceded in a report published last week.

The report, authored by the Office of the Attorney General, offers an unprecedented accounting of the government’s neglect in tracking deaths in U.S. prisons and jails and at the hands of police, as required under the Death in Custody Reporting Act. Since October 2019, the DOJ has missed at least 18 percent of all deaths in state prisons, 39 percent of deaths in local jails, and between 62 and 71 percent of deaths in police custody, according to the report, which compared the number of deaths reported under DCRA with publicly available sources of information.

In total, more than 5,000 deaths in the criminal legal system have gone uncounted over the past nearly three years. Fifteen states failed to report any arrest-related deaths in that period, and seven states failed to report any deaths in local jails.

Yet Another Reason We Need The Campaign For Corrective Clemency.