The Death in Custody Reporting Act of 2013 (DCRA) requires the head of each federal law enforcement agency to submit to the U.S. Attorney General, information about the death of any person who is—
- detained, under arrest, or in the process of being arrested by a federal law enforcement officer (or by a state or local law enforcement officer while participating in a federal law enforcement operation, task force, or other capacity)
- being transported to, incarcerated at, or detained at any facility (including immigration or juvenile facilities) pursuant to a contract with a federal law enforcement agency, state or local government facility used by a federal law enforcement agency, or federal correctional or pre-trial detention facility located within the United States (Death in Custody Reporting Act of 2013, P.L. 113-242).
The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) created the Federal Deaths in Custody Reporting Program (FDCRP) to collect the data required of federal law enforcement agencies. Federal law enforcement agencies are surveyed on an annual basis about deaths that fall under the scope of DCRA.
The FDCRP is a census of federal law enforcement agencies and consists of three instruments: a screener (CJ-13), the Arrest-Related Death Incident Report (CJ-13A), and the Detention/Incarceration Incident Report (CJ-13B). On the screener, agency respondents indicated whether they had arrest or detention authority. If so, respondents indicated whether they had any deaths to report. If a responding agency did not have either type of death (occurring during arrest or occurring while in detention or custody) during the reporting period, the survey instructed respondents to report no deaths on the screener.
For every arrest-related death, respondents completed a CJ-13A form. The CJ-13A instrument included questions about the incident, such as location, decedent characteristics (e.g., demographics and actions prior to and during the incident), and law enforcement characteristics (e.g., actions during the incident, interactions with the decedent, and weapon use). For every death in custody, respondents completed a CJ-13B form. Similar to the CJ-13A form, the CJ-13B instrument included questions about the incident, such as facility information, decedent characteristics (e.g., demographics and incarceration details), and facility staff characteristics (e.g., actions during the incident). Due to unique functions and situations, the arrest and custody incident-forms requested different information. For example, because law enforcement use of force often accounted for arrest-related deaths, the incident form included questions about the type and extent of force applied during the incident. Additionally, because most deaths in custody were due to illness, the incident form included types of treatment provided for identified medical conditions.