Reuters has created a dataset of the number of deaths that occured in every U.S. jail with more than 750 inmates in custody between 2008 to 2019. Currently, the U.S. Department of Justice collects data on jail deaths but does not release this information, making it difficult for policymakers, investigators, or activists to compare jail death statistics and pinpoint which states and county jails have abnormal death rates. By filing more than 1,500 public records requests to jails, Reuters has created a dataset that covers 523 jails across the country and includes the deceased individual’s name, age, race, gender, cause of death, the year they were in custody, and whether they were convicted at the time of death. The data shows that mortality rates in prison rose 8 percent over the last three years and that 66 percent of those who died were awaiting trial.
Image: Damir Spanic