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Arrest-Related Deaths Program: Pilot Study of Redesigned Survey Methodology

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2019
18 pages
Duren Banks; Michael Planty; Lance Couzens; Philip Lee; Connor Brooks; Kevin M. Scott; Anthony Whyde
Publication Series
Publication Type
Survey, Report (Study/Research), Report (Grant Sponsored), Report (Annual/Periodic), Program/Project Evaluation, Program/Project Description
Grant Number(s)
This Technical Report describes the data-collection approach and results from the survey phase of a program-redesign study of the Bureau of Justice Statistics' (BJS') Arrest-Related Deaths (ARD) program.
In 2003, the BJS developed the ARD program to be a census of all deaths that occur during an arrest or an attempt to obtain custody of a person by a state or local law enforcement agency (LEA) in the United States. This ARD measured all manner of arrest-related deaths, including homicides, suicides, deaths due to natural causes or accidents, and undetermined or unknown cause of death; however, BJS suspended the ARD program in 2014 due to concerns about its coverage and reliability. BJS then redesigned the ARD program and began a pilot test of the new methodology in 2015. The revised methodology included two phases designed to increase the reliability, validity, and comprehensiveness of the data collection. The first phase consisted of a standardized review of media articles in order to identify potential arrest-related deaths. In the second phase, BJS surveyed LEAs , medical examiners, and coroners offices. Each of these two phases is described in this Technical Report. It summarizes the pilot application of these two phases, concluding that it resulted in improvements in data completeness and quality. The ARD program-redesign pilot study identified 424 arrest-related deaths during the 3-month study period. The survey of LEAs and ME/C offices directly identified 48 more decedents than would have been identified through open-source review alone. 16 tables
Date Created: July 30, 2019