DOJ failed to count 1,000 state and local prisoner deaths in single year, report finds

The Justice Department is failing to adequately and efficiently collect data about deaths in state prisons and local jails, with at least 990 incidents going uncounted by the

federal government in fiscal year 2021 alone, according to a newly released bipartisan Senate report. The report's findings will be the focus of a hearing Tuesday of the

Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which took the federal Bureau of Prisons and then-Director Michael Carvajal to task this

summer over accusations of unsanitary and unsafe conditions at a penitentiary in Atlanta and other allegations of misconduct across the federal prison system. Now, the

conclusion of a 10-month investigation into how the Justice Department oversees the federal Death in Custody Reporting Act accuses the agency of missing death counts that are

readily available on public websites and in arrest databases. In addition, the law requires that states and federal agencies report in-custody death information to the attorney

general, who must then study how the data can help reduce such deaths and provide the results to Congress. The information was due at the end of 2016, but the Senate report says

it won't be completed until 2024. The subcommittee's chairman, Sen. Jon Ossoff, D-Ga., said in a statement that there were "shocking long-term gaps in federal oversight" of

the law. Seventy percent of records supplied to the Justice Department in fiscal year 2021 were also missing at least one field of information related to the deaths,

according to the report, which was done with the help of the U.S. Government Accountability Office.