Death in custody
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A death in custody is a death of a person in the custody of the police, prison service or other authorities. Death in custody remains a controversial subject, with the authorities often being accused of abuse, neglect, racism and cover-ups of the causes of these deaths.
- 1 By country
- 1.1 Algeria
- 1.2 Argentina
- 1.3 Australia
- 1.4 Bangladesh
- 1.5 Burma
- 1.6 Chad
- 1.7 China
- 1.8 Congo
- 1.9 Cuba
- 1.10 Egypt
- 1.11 Finland
- 1.12 Germany
- 1.13 India
- 1.14 Indonesia
- 1.15 Iran
- 1.16 Ireland
- 1.17 Jamaica
- 1.18 Japan
- 1.19 Laos
- 1.20 Libya
- 1.21 Malaysia
- 1.22 Mexico
- 1.23 Morocco
- 1.24 North Korea
- 1.25 Pakistan
- 1.26 Saudi Arabia
- 1.27 Somalia
- 1.28 South Africa
- 1.29 Sudan
- 1.30 Syria
- 1.31 Turkey
- 1.32 UAE
- 1.33 United Kingdom
- 1.34 United States
- 1.34.1 Definition of custody
- 1.34.2 Causes of death
- 1.34.3 Estimates
- 1.34.4 Watchdog organizations
- 1.34.5 Examples of those who have died in custody
- 1.34.6 Foreign custody by American agents (police, military, etc.)
- 1.35 Vietnam
- 1.36 Yemen
- 1.37 Zimbabwe
- 2 See also
- 3 References
See separate article: Aboriginal deaths in custody
At least 460 people have died in police custody since 1990. About 20 people die in police custody a year, down from 28-30 per year in the nineties.
See Police encounter
See Terence Wheelock
"At least 650 people have been killed by police officers in Jamaica since 1999. Many of these have been blatantly unlawful killings, yet not one officer has been convicted since then." Piers Bannister, Amnesty International’s Jamaica researcher.
See Abu Salim prison
South Africa has an unusually high level of deaths in custody. For example, in April to June 1997, there were 56 deaths in custody.
Definition of custody
The term "in custody" has been debated in both California v. Beheler (in regards to what constitutes custody in the requirement to read Miranda rights) but also in other federal court cases related to Miranda law and definition of custody. Although Miranda law has roughly defined custody as the "formal arrest or restraint on freedom of movement," colloquial language may be less restrictive in the use of custody and is thus sometimes difficult to distinguish from the process of arrest. In addition to collecting data on those who have perished in custody, the Bureau of Justice Statistics also tracks all deaths related to arrest which helps to present data in the fringes of custody or attempts to arrest an individual.
Causes of death
The causes for death in police custody may range from suspected homicide by members of the police, killings by other inmates, death due to psychological or physical abuse, capital punishment, to suicide, accidental death, or natural causes. The United States Bureau of Justice Statistics collects data regarding both the cause of death, as well as medical and criminal records of those that die in police custody (restricted to those in federal prison and local jails).
The Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates that 17,358 individuals in custody died during the period from 2007-2010. Other publications focus on the rate per 100,000, in the case of US jails the mortality rate is 128, and prisons at 264 per 100,000. It is important to also note the differences in methodology used to obtain these statistics, as some include deaths during attempted arrests while others do not. Other research has focused on specific states, such as Maryland and the rate of death by identity (gender, race, age). Based on some findings, there does appear to be a bias towards African-American males in sudden custody deaths, although further research with larger sample sizes is necessary.
The Marshall Project collects and produces reports both on police killings as well as maintains a curated list of links to articles and publications related to death in police custody in the United States.
Examples of those who have died in custody
- Sandra Bland (woman found hung in her jail cell due to apparent suicide)
- Freddie Gray (suffered injuries while being transported that led to a coma and his death)
- Michael Tyree (alleged to have been beaten to death by guards)
- Elliott Williams (died in his cell due to complications from multiple injuries)
- Ricardo Alfonso Cerna (committed suicide in police interview room)
- Missouri State Penitentiary riot (death of four inmates)
- New Mexico State Penitentiary riot (33 inmate deaths and over 200 injuries)
- Ronnie Lee Gardner (last person executed by firing squad)
- Billy Bailey (last person executed by hanging)
Foreign custody by American agents (police, military, etc.)
International custody law
There are numerous laws and international treaties regarding treatment of foreigners, especially during wartime, of which the Geneva Convention is the most widely recognized and internationally ratified. It contains provisions that classify and define both prisoners of war (as well as civilians and the wounded or infirm) and the manner in which they are to be treated. These include but are not limited to: murder, mutilation, hostage taking, and outrages upon personal dignity. These ratified documents are the base of US international custody law and can be seen to be misapplied in some of the proceeding cases.
Examples of those who have died in custody
- Jamal Naseer (Afghan soldier allegedly beaten to death by US forces)
- Nagem Hatab (Iraqi killed by elements and possible heart attack)
- Abu Ghraib (infamous US military prison known for mass torture and mass graves in nearby area)
- Manadel al-Jamadi (suspected terrorist tortured and killed)
- Camp Bucca 2005 riot (four detainees killed)
- Rheinwiesenlager POW camps (estimates of 3,000-10,000 German soldier deaths while in detention)
- Capital punishment in the United States
- Infectious diseases within American prisons
- Life imprisonment
- Prison overcrowding
- Prisoner rights in the United States
- Private prison
- War on Drugs
- Extrajudicial killing
- List of prison deaths
- Police brutality
- Prisoner suicide
- Capital punishment
- Institutional racism
- African-American family structure#Black male incarceration and mortality
- Category:People who died in police custody
- Category:People who died in prison custody
- List of killings by law enforcement officers in the United States
- List of freedom indices
- "Death behind bars". Cmaj.ca. 2002-11-12. Retrieved 2015-02-25.
- Stefan Fruehwald; Patrick Frottier. "Death behind bars" (PDF). Cmaj.ca. Retrieved 2015-02-25.
- "Suomessa sattuu putkakuolemia parikymmentä vuodessa - Putkakuolemat - Kotimaa - Helsingin Sanomat". Hs.fi. Retrieved 2015-02-25.
- "Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation". Csvr.org.za. Retrieved 2015-02-25.
- "California v. Beheler". Find Law. March 14, 2017.
- Holcomb, Jayme (February 20, 2016). "When does handcuffing constitute custody for purposes of Miranda". FBI.
- "Arrest related deaths". Bureau of Justice Statistics. March 14, 2017.
- "Data Collection: Deaths In Custody Reporting Program (DCRP)". Bureau of Justice Statistics. March 14, 2017.
- Ross, Darrell (2006). Sudden Deaths in Custody. Totowa, N.J.: Humana Press. pp. 15–138. ISBN 978-1-58829-475-3.
- Zheng, Zhen (2016). "Assessing Inmate Cause of Death" (PDF). Bureau of Justice Statistics.
- Heide, Steffen (2016). "Deaths in Police Custody". Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine – via Elsevier Science Direct.
- Southall, Pamela (2008). "Police custody deaths in Maryland, USA: An examination of 45 cases". Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine. 15: 227–230 – via Elsevier Science Direct.
- "Death in Police Custody". The Marshall Project. February 12, 2017.
- Kim, Jonathan (July 2016). "Geneva Conventions". Cornell University Law School.
- "Convention (III) relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War. Geneva, 12 August 1949.". International Committee of the Red Cross. March 15, 2017.