Every time a prisoner dies in prison, a report is supposed to be filled out. It’s to ensure that there’s not an alarming trend. In fact, there’s even a law that requires the Department of Justice to fill out the necessary paperwork – the Death in Custody Reporting Act.
There’s just one problem. The DOJ hasn’t been doing its job. According to a report that Politico reported on, over 1,000 inmate deaths were not accounted for by the DOJ in 2021 alone. So, why are these people dying in prison? Is it possible that their lives could have been spared if the reports were filled out? It’s certainly possible.
A subcommittee within the federal government conducted a 10-month investigation. Politico reported that “the subcommittee found that the DOJ failed to report any death-in-custody data since 2019, required by the Death in Custody Reporting Act.” In fact, any data that was completed was missing something. Of the deaths that were reported, 70% of the forms were missing at least one data field.
Perhaps the most alarming aspect is that around 40% of the reports didn’t include a description of the circumstances that surrounded the death.
That means that the DOJ isn’t even bothering to identify why people are dying in the custody of prisons around the country.
We have a Democratic president – and a Democratic House. So, perhaps the DOJ assumes that it doesn’t have to play by the rules. They don’t really like oversight – and Biden is happy to let the DOJ break the rules because he doesn’t want the oversight, either.
Imagine that. The Department of Justice isn’t following the rules. What hope do we have of justice being delivered if the DOJ isn’t setting a proper example?
An incompetent DOJ may lead to even more deaths within the prison system. After all, who will know? And who will put an end to it?