Death in Custody Reporting Act (DCRA) Training and Technical Assistance Center (TTAC)
About the DCRA TTAC
The goal of the DCRA TTA Center is to increase state-level compliance with DCRA reporting requirements by assisting states in identifying sources of data on such deaths and reporting complete and accurate data on a quarterly basis. Such data is essential to improve the understanding of why death in custody occurs and to develop solutions to prevent avoidable deaths.
The DCRA TTA Center has four components that further information sharing and foster peer-to-peer learning.
1. The DCRA collection within JIRN’s Justice Research Academy provides online meeting capabilities, on-demand learning modules, virtual training support, and a comprehensive course catalog to enhance the availability of learning opportunities for SAAs and DCRA reporters.
2. The online DCRA Community Discussion Board serves as a place where interested parties can build a sense of community online and asynchronously exchange information regarding DCRA planning, implementation, and reporting. To maximize the usefulness of this resource, SAAs and DCRA reporters should visit the DCRA discussion board and subscribe to it in order to be alerted via email whenever content is added.
3. The DCRA Collection in JIRN’s Justice Information Center contains a variety of information resources on DCRA reporting, including Statistical Analysis Center (SAC) DCRA reports, DCRA background and legislative considerations from the Congressional Research Service, guidance and frequently asked questions from the Bureau of Justice Assistance and DCRA reports, studies, and testimony from the Attorney General of the United States, the Inspector General of the Department of Justice, and others.
4. The DCRA TTA Center can provide onsite and virtual TTA to SAAs and other DCRA reporters. Center staff or our team of subject matter experts (SMEs) will provide the requested assistance. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is the Death in Custody Reporting Act?
The Death in Custody Reporting Act (DCRA; Public Law 113-242) requires states that receive funding under the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program to report to the Attorney General information regarding “the death of any person who is detained, under arrest, or is in the process of being arrested, is en route to incarceration, or is incarcerated at a municipal or county jail, State prison, State-run boot camp prison, state-contracted boot camp prison, or any State or local contract facility, or other local or State correctional facility (including any juvenile facility).
In fiscal year 2020, the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) began collecting death in custody data from JAG Program State Administering Agencies (SAAs) through the BJA Performance Measurement Tool (PMT). Before 2020, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) captured death-in-custody data in their Morality in Correctional Institutions (MCI) data collection. SAAs are responsible for compiling data quarterly from state and local entities, including law enforcement agencies, local jails, correctional institutions, medical examiners, and other state agencies, and submitting the data to BJA.
State Implementation Plans
Beginning in Fiscal Year 2023, the Edward Byrne Memorial JAG Program solicitation requires SAAs to submit a state implementation plan for DCRA data collection and reporting as part of their proposal response. Through this plan, SAAs are required to demonstrate an understanding of DCRA requirements and explain how their state intends to collect and report the required data.
BJA’s DCRA State Implementation Plan Training
DCRA Reporting Requirements
SAAs are responsible for compiling and submitting data to BJA on a quarterly basis to comply with DCRA requirements as follows:
What measures do I report?
- Information about the DCRA reporting elements can be found here: Death in Custody Reporting Act Performance Measures Questionnaire.
Where do I report?
- Directly to BJA via the Performance Measurement Tool (PMT). Contact the PMT Helpdesk for assistance with your PMT account at: email@example.com or (888) 252-6867.
When do I report?
- First quarter is October 1–December 31; reporting is due January 30.
- Second quarter is January 1–March 31; reporting is due April 30.
- Third quarter is April 1–June 30; reporting is due July 30.
- Fourth quarter is July 1–September 30; reporting is due October 30.
State departments of corrections, local jails, juvenile detention facilities, and state and local law enforcement agencies should report death in custody information on a quarterly basis to a centralized state agency. Contact your SAA for more information about the reporting guidelines at: https://www.ojp.gov/funding/state-administering-agencies/overview.
Performance Measurement Tool (PMT) Resources
What Data Must State Administering Agencies Report?
Each quarter, SAAs must either (1) report the number of deaths in custody that occurred in their jurisdictions or (2) affirm that no deaths in custody occurred.
Specifically, for each death in custody, SAAs must enter the following information into the PMT:
- The decedent’s name, date of birth, gender, race, and ethnicity
- The date, time, and location of the death
- The law enforcement or correctional agency that detained, arrested, or was in the process of arresting the deceased
- A brief description of the circumstances surrounding the death
If SAAs do not have sufficient information to complete certain data elements, they may enter “unknown” for those data values (when allowed in the PMT). For cases that remain under investigation, the “manner of death” should be reported as “unavailable, investigation pending,” and the SAAs should specify when they anticipate obtaining the information. Once the information is available, SAAs should ask the PMT Helpdesk to unlock their reports to update them. If the SAAs do not update the information, BJA will follow up with the SAAs in subsequent reporting periods to ensure they update their previous entries.
SAA Resources for DCRA Compliance
- CDC’s National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) – Using the NVDRS for Death in Custody Reporting Act (DCRA) Compliance
- Census of State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies (CSLLEA) – Using the CSLLEA for Death in Custody Reporting Act (DCRA) compliance
- Census of State and Federal Adult Correctional Facilities (CCF) – Using the CCF for Death in Custody Reporting Act (DCRA) compliance
- Census of Jails (COJ) – Using the COJ for Death in Custody Reporting Act (DCRA) compliance
- Comparing the FBI’s Use of Force Program with BJA’s Death in Custody Reporting Act (DCRA) Program
- Washington Post Police Shooting Database-Using the Washington Post’s Database for Death in Custody Reporting Act (DCRA) Compliance
- Gun Violence Archive (GVA) – Using the GVA for Death-in-Custody Reporting Act (DCRA) Compliance
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