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Republican GA 9

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  • Death in Custody Reporting Act of 2013

    by Representative Doug Collins

    Posted on 2013-12-12

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    COLLINS of Georgia. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the bill (H.R. 1447) to encourage States to report to the Attorney General certain information regarding the deaths of individuals in the custody of law enforcement agencies, and for other purposes.



    The Clerk read the title of the bill.

    The text of the bill is as follows: H.R. 1447 Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Death in Custody Reporting Act of 2013''.

    SEC. 2. STATE INFORMATION REGARDING INDIVIDUALS WHO DIE IN THE CUSTODY OF LAW ENFORCEMENT.

    (a) In General.--For each fiscal year after the expiration of the period specified in subsection (c)(1) in which a State receives funds for a program referred to in subsection (c)(2), the State shall report to the Attorney General, on a quarterly basis and pursuant to guidelines established by 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 be incarcerated, or is incarcerated at a municipal or county jail, State prison, State-run boot camp prison, boot camp prison that is contracted out by the State, any State or local contract facility, or other local or State correctional facility (including any juvenile facility).

    (b) Information Required.--The report required by this section shall contain information that, at a minimum, includes-- (1) the name, gender, race, ethnicity, and age of the deceased; (2) the date, time, and location of death; (3) the law enforcement agency that detained, arrested, or was in the process of arresting the deceased; and (4) a brief description of the circumstances surrounding the death.

    (c) Compliance and Ineligibility.-- (1) Compliance date.--Each State shall have not more than 120 days from the date of enactment of this Act to comply with subsection (a), except that-- (A) the Attorney General may grant an additional 120 days to a State that is making good faith efforts to comply with such subsection; and (B) the Attorney General shall waive the requirements of subsection (a) if compliance with such subsection by a State would be unconstitutional under the constitution of such State.

    (2) Ineligibility for funds.--For any fiscal year after the expiration of the period specified in paragraph (1), a State that fails to comply with subsection (a), shall, at the discretion of the Attorney General, be subject to not more than a 10-percent reduction of the funds that would otherwise be allocated for that fiscal year to the State under subpart 1 of part E of title I of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 3750 et seq.), whether characterized as the Edward Byrne Memorial State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance Programs, the Local Government Law Enforcement Block Grants Program, the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program, or otherwise.

    (d) Reallocation.--Amounts not allocated under a program referred to in subsection (c)(2) to a State for failure to fully comply with subsection (a) shall be reallocated under that program to States that have not failed to comply with such subsection.

    (e) Definitions.--In this section the terms ``boot camp prison'' and ``State'' have the meaning given those terms, respectively, in [[Page H8048]] section 901(a) of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 3791(a)).

    (f) Study and Report of Information Relating to Deaths in Custody.-- (1) Study required.--The Attorney General shall carry out a study of the information reported under subsection (b) and section 3(a) to-- (A) determine means by which such information can be used to reduce the number of such deaths; and (B) examine the relationship, if any, between the number of such deaths and the actions of management of such jails, prisons, and other specified facilities relating to such deaths.

    (2) Report.--Not later than 2 years after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Attorney General shall prepare and submit to Congress a report that contains the findings of the study required by paragraph (1).

    SEC. 3. FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT DEATH IN CUSTODY REPORTING REQUIREMENT.

    (a) In General.--For each fiscal year (beginning after the date that is 120 days after the date of the enactment of this Act), the head of each Federal law enforcement agency shall submit to the Attorney General a report (in such form and manner specified by the Attorney General) that contains information regarding the death of any person who is-- (1) detained, under arrest, or is in the process of being arrested by any officer of such Federal law enforcement agency (or by any State or local law enforcement officer while participating in and for purposes of a Federal law enforcement operation, task force, or any other Federal law enforcement capacity carried out by such Federal law enforcement agency); or (2) en route to be incarcerated or detained, or is incarcerated or detained at-- (A) any facility (including any immigration or juvenile facility) pursuant to a contract with such Federal law enforcement agency; (B) any State or local government facility used by such Federal law enforcement agency; or (C) any Federal correctional facility or Federal pre-trial detention facility located within the United States.

    (b) Information Required.--Each report required by this section shall include, at a minimum, the information required by section 2(b).

    (c) Study and Report.--Information reported under subsection (a) shall be analyzed and included in the study and report required by section 2(f).

    The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Collins) and the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Scott) each will control 20 minutes.

    The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Georgia.

    General Leave Mr. COLLINS of Georgia. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members have 5 legislative days within which to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous materials on H.R. 1447, currently under consideration.

    The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Georgia? There was no objection.

    Mr. COLLINS of Georgia. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

    The Death in Custody Reporting Act of 2000 directed the Bureau of Justice Statistics within the Department of Justice to collect data on the deaths that occur at two important stages in the criminal justice system: first, deaths that occur in the process of arrest or during the transfer after arrest; and, second, deaths that occur in jails and prisons. The provisions of that act expired in December 2006.

    According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 885 inmates died in the custody of local jails in 2011. This is the lowest number of jail inmate deaths in the 12-year history of the Deaths in Custody Reporting program.

    Nearly nine out of 10 State prisoner deaths were as a result of natural causes, the leading reason being cancer and heart disease. Although illness-related deaths have increased slightly in recent years, the homicide and suicide rates in State prisons have dramatically decreased over the last 25 years.

    H.R. 1447 reauthorizes this data collection program and directs the Attorney General not only to collect the data, but also to study the data to determine how to reduce deaths in custody in the future. The legislation extends the reporting requirements to deaths that occur in Federal custody.

    Although the Death in Custody Reporting Act expired in 2006, the Bureau of Justice Statistics has continued to collect this data. They provide a national resource for understanding mortality in the criminal justice system.

    The collection of this data will help the Federal, State, and local governments examine the relationships between deaths in custody and the proper management of jail and prison facilities. It will also provide important information to Congress on any need to improve Federal custody procedures.

    Because the Bureau of Justice Statistics has continued to collect the information even though the prior law has expired, this bill will not impose any new cost on the agency. Congress passed similar legislation in three Congresses with overwhelming bipartisan support.

    I would like to thank Congressman Scott for introducing this legislation, and I would urge all my colleagues to support it.

    With that, Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

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