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BJS Statement on the Release of Redacted Mortality in Correctional Institutions (MCI) Data

The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) has provided to a third party a redacted version of certain data submitted under the Mortality in Correctional Institutions (MCI) data collection, in response to a court order issued in the course of litigation that remains ongoing. This redacted dataset includes data submitted pursuant to that collection, by state departments of corrections for deaths in their facilities between October 1, 2015, and December 31, 2019. Data elements such as the individual names and dates of birth have been fully redacted, and certain other individual data elements have been redacted to anonymize the release further; however, within individual records, the types of data elements being released may include the name of the state, name and location of facility, the admission date, death date, cause of death, race, sex, or commitment offense of the individual.

The redacted data can be found in the OJP FOIA Reading Room.

As a federal statistical agency, BJS has statutory responsibilities to maintain the confidentiality of all information identifiable to a private person. The BJS Data Protection Guidelines summarize the federal statutes, regulations, and other authorities that govern BJS. The guidelines require BJS to adhere to strict confidentiality requirements regarding data collected at BJS’s direction, ensure that the collected data be used only for statistical purposes, commit to wide dissemination of BJS data for public benefit, and strive to maximize the utility, objectivity, and integrity of the information BJS disseminates and archives for public use.

Although release of this particular dataset is required by the court order, BJS will continue to follow its data protection guidelines and protect data it collects to the fullest extent possible under the law.

Reducing deaths in custody remains a high priority for the Department of Justice.  

Please direct questions about this matter to [email protected].

Date Published: December 7, 2023