WASHINGTON, D.C. – A conclusion of a ten-month bipartisan probe has revealed that the Biden Administration’s Department of Justice (DOJ) came up short on the number of fatalities of individuals that have taken place either in prison, jail, or police custody, undercounting that statistic by nearly 1,000 deaths during the 2021 fiscal year.
The investigation, a joint effort carried out by the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations and the Government Accountability Office, determined that the DOJ’s data keeping has been in a state of disarray since 2016, and that they failed to record the deaths of 990 people in custody during some phase of the legal system, failing to comply with the Death in Custody Reporting Act (DCRA) of 2013.
DCRA requires the DOJ to keep an accurate record of all deaths that have taken place among individuals in prison, jail, or police custody, and report the record of those deaths to Congress to be analyzed in an effort to find a way to reduce incidents.
In addition to an inaccurate death toll, the probe also stated that aforementioned report that the DOJ was slated to hand over to Congress will not be ready until 2024, a whopping eight years after it was originally due. Also, what data that DOJ has compiled for the report so far is largely incomplete, with 70 percent of it missing required information about the deceased individuals personal identifying characteristics, and 40 percent missing information concerning how the individuals actually died.
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At a hearing held on Tuesday in response to the outcome of the investigation, Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) slammed Maureen Henneberg – the official leading the DOJ’s death recording report – for not only not complying with the law, but also for what he called the DOJ’s overall ineptitude.
“We’re talking about a pretty manageable amount information here,” Johnson said. “You have utterly failed. I mean, literally, you’ve utterly failed.”