Jail deaths 2020-21 (Middlesex County Sheriff's Office)

Joshua Dankoff filed this request with the Middlesex County Sheriff's Office of Middlesex County, MA.
Multi Request Jail deaths 2020-21


From: Joshua Dankoff

Dear Sheriff's Department Public Records Division:

This is a public records request to the House of Corrections from Citizens for Juvenile Justice (CfJJ). We are seeking this information to inform our research regarding deaths that occur while people are in custody in Massachusetts.

Specifically, we request de-identified records concerning individuals who died while in your agency’s custody during 2019, 2020, and up to the date of your search in 2021. We request records that indicate information about these individuals’ incarceration (specifically their custody status—ie whether pre-trial, post adjudication, or immigration detainer as appropriate—the date of their incarceration, and demographic information including race, ethnicity, age, gender), and records that contain information about their death (at the very least the date of death and the cause of death in as much detail as possible).

The above request could be for original records, or as an extract of your database(s) with line level data by individual who died including the following fields:
1. Facility
2. Date of death
3. Date of incarceration
4. Cause of death (as much detail as possible) – but at least categories such as illness, suicide, homicide, drug overdose, etc.
5. Age
6. Race
7. Gender
8. Custody Status – i.e. whether pre-trial, post adjudication, or immigration detainer as appropriate

Concerning the request for extracts of your database, per Attorney Gen. v. Dist. Attorney for Plymouth Dist., 484 Mass. 260, 141 N.E.3d 429 (2020), compiling information from a database is not tantamount to creating a new record that would otherwise be precluded under public records law. Specifically: “Where public records are in electronic form, a public records request that requires a government entity to search its electronic database to extract requested data does not mean that the extracted data constitute the creation of a new record, which would not be required, under the public records law. " Id. at 442 to 443

The Public Records Act requires that you comply with this request within ten (10) business days following receipt. If you believe that data responsive to any request herein is not public record and thus not subject to disclosure, please set forth in writing the specific reasons for such assertion, including the specific exemption or exemptions that you believe apply. To the extent that you determine that records need to be redacted in order to be produced under any law protecting the privacy of named individuals, please do so rather than withholding them in their entirety.

CfJJ is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that works in the public interest, and without a profit motive. Given that we are requesting this information to better understand conditions for those incarcerated in Massachusetts, we request a fee waiver. 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.

If you have any questions or require clarification, please do not hesitate to contact me regarding any part of the request.


Joshua Dankoff
Director of Strategic Initiatives
Citizens for Juvenile Justice

From: Middlesex County Sheriff's Office

Hello Mr. Dankoff,

Please see attached.

Thank you,
Malav Patel

Malav Patel, Esq.
Associate Legal Counsel
Middlesex Sheriff’s Office
Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian
400 Mystic Ave. 4th Fl.
Medford, MA 02155
P 781 960 2800 | F 781 960 2902

The information contained in this electronic message and any files attached may be legally privileged and confidential under applicable law, and is intended only for the use of the individual or entity named above. If the recipient of this message is not the above-named intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any use, dissemination, copy or disclosure of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please immediately notify our office via telephone at 781-960-2800 or through reply email at mspatel@sdm.state.ma.us<mailto:mspatel@sdm.state.ma.us> and purge the communication immediately without making any copy or distribution.