U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

National Institute of Justice Literature Review and Data Analysis on Deaths in Custody, Report to Congress

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2022
77 pages

This report to Congress, from the Department of Justice, provides data on deaths in custody as an initial response to the requirements articulated under the Death in Custody Reporting Act of 2013.


This Department of Justice (DOJ) report to Congress provides data on deaths in custody, in response to the Death in Custody Reporting Act (DCRA) of 2013, which requires state and federal law enforcement agencies to report any deaths of people in custody to the Attorney General. This report reviews existing research literature and data focused on the prevalence, patterns, and contexts of deaths in custody; it discusses the literature’s limitations and presents findings from a new exploratory analysis of data on mortality in correctional institutions. The report provides information about DCRA and its requirements, including the need to provide at least the following information about deaths in custody: date, time, and location of death; custodial agency; circumstances associated with the death; name, age, gender, race, and ethnicity of the decedent. The overarching goal of DCRA is to collect and analyze data in order to reduce the number of deaths in custody, which may be achievable by implementing empirically based preventive strategies. Findings from the exploratory analysis of Mortality in Correctional Institutions (MCI) program data are presented in this report, shedding some light on ways in which jails and prisons might be able to reduce mortality.

Date Published: December 1, 2022