United States Senator Richard Blumenthal

The Death in Custody Reporting Act

About The Bill

This bill was signed into law by the President on December 18, 2014.

It requires states and federal law enforcement agencies to report to the Attorney General basic information regarding deaths occurring in law enforcement custody or during an arrest. It also requires the Attorney General to study this information and provide suggestions to reduce the number of such deaths

The Need:

In 2000, Congress unanimously passed the Death in Custody Reporting Act, which required states to provide basic information any time an individual dies in custody or during an arrest. However, the Act expired in 2006. Since then, the Justice Department has not had access to accurate information on deaths in custody or during arrest. As a result, public debates about this crucial issue are not informed by complete, timely data.

Existing Data Is Inadequate:

Since death in custody reporting became optional in 2006, the Bureau of Justice Statistics has been unable to guarantee complete and accurate data. BJS has stopped reporting on deaths during arrest altogether, and underreporting in other areas has crept up. Other studies of the issue are anecdotal or simply inadequate, leading to confusionhe biggest influence for any Senator is the voice of his or her constituents. 

Where This Bill Stands:

The Death In Custody Act unanimously passed the House in 2013 and the Senate in 2014. It will become law once it is signed by the President.