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DOJ OIG Releases Report on the Department of Justice’s Implementation of the Death in Custody Reporting Act of 2013

Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz announced today the release of a report assessing the DOJ’s implementation of the Death in Custody Reporting Act of 2013 (DCRA). DCRA requires states and federal law enforcement agencies to report to the Attorney General the death of any person in the custody of federal and state law enforcement and correctional agencies.

 The DOJ Office of the Inspector General (OIG) found that the DOJ has established a program to collect data from federal law enforcement agencies, and that most federal law enforcement agencies have submitted DCRA reports. However, the DOJ does not have a full accounting of all federal law enforcement agencies and is therefore unable to determine whether all agencies required to submit DCRA reports are doing so.

Additionally, the DOJ has not yet implemented a program to collect data from states. As a result, DOJ does not expect to begin its collection of this data until the beginning of fiscal year 2020, despite DCRA’s requirement to do so by fiscal year 2016. Further, the DOJ’s current plan for state DCRA data collection, if implemented, will be duplicative of two other Department data collection efforts: the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ Mortality in Correctional Institutions Program and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Planned Use of Force Program. The plan also may not produce reliable data because the program will not fully leverage open sources to augment and validate state-reported data.

 DCRA also requires that the DOJ submit a report to Congress detailing the results of a study of DCRA data no later than two years after December 18, 2014, but the OIG found that the DOJ does not have plans to submit such a report.

Today’s report makes four recommendations to assist DOJ components in implementing DCRA. The Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Prisons, and FBI all agreed with the recommendations.

 Report: Today’s report is available on the OIG’s website under “Recent Reports” and at the following link: https://oig.justice.gov/reports/2018/e1901.pdf.

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