In the Mortality in Correctional Institutions collection (MCI), custody refers to the physical holding of an inmate in a facility. It also includes the period during which a correctional authority maintains a chain of custody over an inmate. For instance, if a jail transports an ill inmate to a hospital for medical services and that inmate dies while in the chain of custody of the jail, that death is counted as a death in custody. A death that occurs when an inmate is not in the custody of a correctional authority is considered beyond the scope of the MCI. Out-of-scope deaths include inmates on escape status or under the supervision of community corrections, specifically inmates on probation, parole, or home-electronic monitoring.
Until the reauthorization of the Death in Custody Reporting Act (P.L. 113-242) in 2014, the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) only provided BJS with summary statistics on annual mortality by cause of death. Starting in 2015, the BOP has provided us with individual-level records on prisoners who die while in BOP- or privately-operated facilities. These data will be archived with the rest of the arrest-related and custody deaths collected from federal agencies at the National Archives of Criminal Justice Data in the near future.
Homicide is the 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.
Justifiable homicide is the killing by law enforcement personnel that is justified by law and for which no criminal punishment is imposed. These deaths occur as a result of officers performing their legal duty to protect and serve the public and may result from actions taken in self-defense. Justifiable homicides by law enforcement officers include deaths attributed to shooting, asphyxia during restraint, injuries sustained during an altercation, and the use of technologies, such as chemical sprays and conducted energy devices.
Sometimes. Deaths resulting from vehicular accidents are within the scope of the ARD program if they specifically involve direct action taken by law enforcement officers against an arrest subject during the arrest process. These direct actions can include shooting at the subject, ramming the subject's vehicle, or otherwise forcing the vehicle off the road (i.e., roadblocks or spike strips).
A suicide, or the intentional killing of oneself, is considered arrest related if the deceased interacted with state or local law enforcement officers immediately prior to taking his or her life. The most common type of reported arrest-related suicide involves decedents engaged in armed standoffs with law enforcement personnel. Other arrest-related suicides include suspects who committed suicide to evade physical custody while law enforcement personnel attempted to apprehend them. The ARD collection excludes suicides of persons with issued arrest warrants if the suicide occurred before the police located the decedent.
No. The collection does not exclude deaths based on a lack of establishing physical custody. For example, it includes officer-involved shootings, of which virtually none involved subjects who were in the physical custody of the arresting agency at the time of death. Some arrest-related suicides occurred in police lockups and booking facilities, and most occurred before law enforcement personnel apprehended arrest subjects and established physical custody.