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Death in Custody Reporting Act


Mortality in Correctional Institutions (MCI) collects data on deaths that occur while inmates are in the custody of local jails, state prisons, or the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). Local jail and state prison data are collected directly from jails and state departments of corrections. Until 2015, the BOP submitted only aggregated deaths counts, by cause and sex. Starting with the 2015 reference year, the BOP submitted detailed data about each prisoner's death. Arrest-related mortality data were collected separately from data on deaths that occur in prisons or jails. The arrest-related death collection from local and state law enforcement agencies was suspended in 2014. The MCI 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 and facility and agency characteristics.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics began the MCI (formerly the DCRP) in 2000 in response to the passage of the Death in Custody Reporting Act (DCRA) of 2000 (P.L. 106-297), which required the collection of individual data on deaths in the process of arrest, local jails, and state prisons. The MCI collects many, but not all, of the elements outlined in the DCRA reauthorization (P.L. 113-242), but because MCI is collected for statistical purposes only, it cannot be used for DCRA enforcement.

For more information about the legislation, see the Death in Custody Reporting Act Factsheet from the Bureau of Justice Assistance. 

Data Collection and Surveys

Mortality in Correctional Institutions (MCI) (Formerly Deaths in Custody Reporting Program (DCRP))