An overview of federal and state law enforcement-correctional deaths during arrests and confinement. Data as to federal agency deaths is below. Links to existing state data and research are included.
Almost all federal arrest-related decedents were male (97%), 66% were white, and 26% were black.
55% occurred while federal law enforcement was serving an active warrant.
The decedent had or appeared to have a weapon in 78% of federal arrest-related deaths.
57 percent were either violent or weapons offenders for their current offense (doesn’t include previous offenses).
Nearly 90% of federal deaths in custody were due to illness.
Deaths during arrest or in correctional facilities are a frequent part of today’s news coverage. When I was a state spokesperson, I released information on law enforcement and correctional deaths to the media. It was rare to get significant coverage based on my proactive announcements. Things have changed.
There are complaints that some law enforcement and correctional agencies don’t do an adequate job of documenting deaths during arrests or while in custody.
What’s below is a report from The Bureau Of Justice Statistics of the US Department of Justice analyzing deaths during arrest or confinement involving federal agencies.
New data from the federal government as to state-local deaths is forthcoming. Existing research as to state-local deaths is linked below.
Federal and state-local enforcement differ in scope and characteristics (i.e., immigration enforcement) thus the ability to apply federal arrest data to state-local experiences is challenging. Nevertheless, the data below is instructive.
Footnotes to the charts are included in the full report, see Bureau Of Justice Statistics.
Federal Research Summary
Findings are based on the Federal Law Enforcement Agency Deaths in Custody Reporting Program (FDCRP), which the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) developed in response to the Death in Custody Reporting Act (effective in 2014).
The law requires each federal law enforcement agency to report any person who dies while being detained, while under arrest, while being arrested, or while in the custody of federal law enforcement officers
Federal law enforcement and detention agencies reported 92 arrest-related deaths and 897 deaths in custody in fiscal years (FY) 2016 and 2017 combined.
Homicides made up about 47% of the arrest-related deaths in FY 2016 and FY 2017. Homicide is the willful killing of one person by another and includes justifiable homicide by a law enforcement officer.
Homicide (47%) and suicide (42%) accounted for nearly 90% of federal arrest-related deaths in FY 2016 and FY 2017 combined.
During the 2-year period, almost all federal arrest-related decedents were male (97%), 66% were white, and 26% were black.
Of federal arrest-related deaths in FY 2016 and FY 2017 combined, 55% occurred while law enforcement was serving an active warrant.
In FY 2016 and FY 2017 combined, the decedent had or appeared to have a weapon in 78% of federal arrest-related deaths.
The vast majority of those who died during arrests engaged in some sort of evasive-aggressive actions (escapes, assaults, barricades, resistance).
57 percent were either violent or weapons offenders for the current alleged offense. Editor’s note: Previous criminal history would increase the percentage considerably.
Nearly 90% of federal deaths in custody in FY 2016 (86%) and FY 2017 (87%) were due to illness.
In FY 2016 and FY 2017 combined, almost all persons who died in federal custody were male (96%), most were white (61%), and about a third were black (31%).
Almost 3 in 10 persons who died in federal custody in FY 2016 and FY 2017 were ages 55 to 64.
Chart-Number Of Federal Deaths By Agency
Chart-Federal Arrest Related Deaths-Reasons For Contact
Chart-Federal Offender Actions-Firearm Possession-Attempt To Injure
Chart-Federal Manner Of Correctional Death
The BJS published previous data for state and federal law enforcement deaths, see their website at Bureau Of Justice Statistics. But a December 2016 report on arrest-related deaths from the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics notes the agency receives data on only a portion of deaths. As stated, new data is forthcoming.
Note that there are 18,000 law enforcement agencies and thousands of correctional facilities thus the effort to collect state-local data is immensely complex.
Journalist Resources-Deaths While in Police Custody-A new law (effective 2014) requires the Attorney General to collect from each state as well as all federal law enforcement agencies “information regarding the death of any person who is detained, under arrest, or is in the process of being arrested, is en route to be incarcerated, or is incarcerated at a municipal or county jail, state prison, state-run boot camp prison, boot camp prison that is contracted out by the state, any state or local contract facility, or other local or state correctional facility (including any juvenile facility).”
A 54-page report from the Office of the Inspector General chronicles problems the U.S. Department of Justice has had implementing the law. It notes that state-level data collection “will be delayed until at least FY 2020,” which ends Sept. 30, 2020.
The article offers links to other entities collecting similar data, see Journalists Resource for additional information.
See more articles on crime and justice at Crime in America.
Most Dangerous Cities/States/Countries at Most Dangerous Cities.
US Crime Rates at Nationwide Crime Rates.
National Offender Recidivism Rates at Offender Recidivism.
The Crime in America.Net RSS feed (https://crimeinamerica.net/?feed=rss2) provides subscribers with a means to stay informed about the latest news, publications, and other announcements from the site.
Contact us at [email protected]
My book based on thirty-five years of criminal justice public relations,” Success With The Media: Everything You Need To Survive Reporters and Your Organization” available at Amazon and additional booksellers.
Reviews are appreciated