The Deaths in Custody Reporting Program (DCRP) collects data on deaths of inmates who are in the custody of local jails or state prisons. Local jail and state prison data are collected directly from jails and state departments of corrections. The DCRP provides individual-level data on the number of deaths by year, cause of death, and decedent age, race or Hispanic origin, and sex. These data are also used to produce facility and population mortality rates. The collection of individual-level data allows BJS to perform detailed analyses of comparative death rates across demographic categories and offense types, as well as facility and agency characteristics.
The DCRP began in 2000 under the Death in Custody Reporting Act of 2000 (P.L. 106-297), which required the collection of individual data on deaths in local jails, and state prisons. While this legislation expired in 2006, BJS has continued to collect these data, as they represent a unique national resource for understanding mortality in the criminal justice system. Prior to the passage of the law, BJS annually collected aggregate counts of deaths from state prisons and less frequently collected aggregate counts from local jails. Annual collection of individual death records from local jail facilities began in 2000, followed by a separate collection from state prison facilities in 2001.