Mortality Data and Related Policies, 2000-2020

COVID Prison Project filed this request with the D.C. Department of Corrections of District of Columbia.


From: COVID Prison Project

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the DC Freedom of Information Act, DC Code §§ 2-531-539, I hereby request the following records:

– Those which include time and date of all instances of death occurring in the offender population between January 2000 and December 2020.

– Those which indicate the total number of individuals in Washington, D.C. Department of Corrections (DCDOC) custody who died by any cause, separated monthly, from January 2000 to December 2020.

– Monthly population records that include the total number of deaths occurring among people in the custody of the DCDOC between January 2000 and December 2020.

– Final reports of death for all individuals in DCDOC custody who died between January 2000 and December 2020.

Additionally, I am requesting an opportunity to inspect or obtain copies of any and all DCDOC policies, regulations, and procedures, pertaining to...

– Investigations of in-custody deaths.

– Requirements for the performance of an autopsy or post-mortem medical examination of individuals who die while in DCDOC custody.

– The reporting of in-custody deaths to other governmental agencies.

– Next-of-kin notification in the event of in-custody deaths.

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not. However, we respectfully request a waiver of these fees as we are affiliated with an educational or noncommercial scientific institution, and this request is made for a scholarly or scientific purpose and not for a commercial use.

If you choose to deny this request, please provide a written explanation for the denial including a reference to the specific statutory exemption(s) upon which you rely. Also, please provide all segregable portions of otherwise exempt material.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 15 business days, as the statute requires.


Forrest Behne
Policy Director, COVID Prison Project
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Office: (919) 391-7962
340 MacNider Hall | Campus Box 7240
333 South Columbia Street
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7240

From: D.C. Department of Corrections

Good Afternoon Mr. Behne,

Please see the attached record, which responds to your below FOIA request for date, cause and number of in-custody deaths of DC Department of Corrections’ (DOC) inmates in the period of January 2000 to December 2020. The information is maintained in year-by-year format. Further, DOC’s written policy found to be responsive to your additional request is Policy & Procedure Number 4352.1D (Inmate/Arrestee/Residents Deaths), posted on agency’s website, at and Quarterly Population Statistics, found at

In response to your request for “final reports of death of all individuals,” you need to provide an acceptable authorization, such as one executed by the personal representative of each deceased inmate, which will permit DOC to disclose any report found. Policy of the DOC recognizes privacy interest of inmates in its custody. Accordingly, a request without a valid authorization is denied pursuant to DC Code §2-534 (2).

You are advised of your right, under D.C. Official Code § 2-537 and 1 DCMR 412, to appeal denial of your FOIA request to the Mayor or to the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.

If you elect to appeal to the Mayor, your appeal must be in writing and contain “Freedom of Information Act Appeal” or “FOIA Appeal” in the subject line of the letter as well as on the outside of the envelope. The appeal must include (1) a copy of the original request, (2) a copy of this letter, (3) a statement of the circumstances, reasons, and or arguments advanced in support of disclosure, and (4) a daytime telephone number, and e-mail and/or U.S. Mail address at which you can be reached. The appeal must be emailed to<> or mailed to the Mayor’s Office of Legal Counsel (MOLC) at 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Suite 407, Washington, D.C. 20004. Further, a copy of all appeal materials must be forwarded to me.

Failure to follow these administrative steps will result in delay in the processing and commencement of a response to your appeal to the Mayor.


Records, Information & Privacy Officer
DC Department of Corrections
Office of the General Counsel
2000 14th Street, NW, 7th Floor
Washington, DC 20009
(O) 202-671-2055
(F) 202-671-1705<>