Mortality Data and Related Policies, 2000-2020

COVID Prison Project filed this request with the Department of Correction of Indiana.


From: COVID Prison Project

Aaron Garner
Executive Director, Research & Technology
Indiana Department of Correction
302 W. Washington Street, Room E-334
Indianapolis, IN 46204

To Aaron Garner:

Pursuant to the Indiana Access to Public Records Act § 5-14-3-1 et seq., 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 Indiana Department of Corrections (IDOC) 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 IDOC between January 2000 and December 2020.

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

Additionally, I am requesting an opportunity to inspect or obtain copies of any and all IDOC 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 IDOC 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.

The Indiana Access to Public Records Act requires a response time within seven business days. If access to the records I am requesting will take longer than seven days, please contact me with information about when I might expect copies or the ability to inspect the requested records. 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 for considering and responding to this request.


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: Department of Correction

Good Afternoon,

In accordance with the requirement of IC 5-14-3-3, this is in response to the public information request you sent to the Indiana Department of Correction. You have requested mortality data and related policies for the Indiana Department of Correction.

IDOC does not have responsive records predating 2001. Under the Advisory Opinion of the Public Access Counselor 16-FC-128 documents do not have to be created upon request. However attached is available data from 2001 to 2020. For general monthly population statistics you can visit our website HERE<>.

The request for investigative information, is denied pursuant to IC 5-14-3-4(a)(1) and (2) which states public records are exempted from disclosure when it is declared confidential by state statute or rule adopted by a public agency. IC 11-8-5-2(a) and 210 IAC 1-6-2, state that internal investigation information and their subsequent reviews are classified as confidential.

After an offender passes, their private medical information, including death reports or reviews, are still protected and confidential. Therefore, the request for death reports or reviews for the offenders is denied pursuant to IC 5-14-3-4(a)(1) and (2) which states public records are exempted from disclosure when it is declared confidential by state statute or rule adopted by a public agency. 210 IAC 1-6-2(2) classifies offender medical as restricted, meaning it is only available to the offender or their authorized agent.

Attach you will find responsive documents which satisfy the remainder of your request including procedures to be followed when a death occurs, when an autopsy is advised, and next of kin notification procedures.

Thank you,

IDOC Public Records