Federal law enforcement and detention agencies reported 92 arrest-related deaths and 897 deaths in custody in fiscal years (FY) 2016 and 2017, according to data from the Federal Law Enforcement Agency Deaths in Custody Reporting Program, which the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) developed in compliance with the Death in Custody Reporting Act (DICRA).
The DICRA requires each federal law enforcement agency to report on any person who dies while being detained, while under arrest, while being arrested, or while in the custody of federal law enforcement officers. Federal agencies reported 51 arrest-related deaths and 468 deaths in custody in FY 2016 and 41 arrest-related deaths and 429 deaths in custody in FY 2017. Homicide (47 percent) and suicide (42 percent) accounted for nearly 90 percent of federal arrest-related deaths in FY 2016 and FY 2017 combined. During this 2-year period, almost all federal arrest-related decedents were male (97 percent); 66 percent were White; and 26 percent were Black. Of federal arrest-related deaths in FY 2016 and FY 2017 combined, 55 percent 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 percent of federal arrest-related deaths. Nearly 90 percent of federal deaths in custody in FY 2016 (86 percent) and FY 2017 (87 percent) were due to illness. In FY 2016 and FY 2017 combined, almost all persons who died in federal custody were male (96 percent); most were White (61 percent); and about one-third were Black (31 percent). Almost 3 in 10 persons who died in federal custody in FY 2016 and FY 2017 were ages 55 to 64. 12 tables and 1 figure