ACLU: Government Has the Duty to Report and Investigate Detainee Deaths

September 20, 2011 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON – The U.S. House of Representatives today passed the “Death in Custody Reporting Act of 2011,” H.R. 2189, a measure that would require state and federal authorities to promptly report all deaths of individuals in law enforcement custody to the U.S. Attorney General. Failure to report the in-custody deaths of detainees, including immigrants, could result in state facilities forfeiting up to 10 percent of their Byrne Grant funds.

“Immigration detention facilities have never been required by law to report detainee deaths,” said Joanne Lin, ACLU legislative counsel. “This bipartisan measure requiring state and federal authorities to be accountable to the public will not only provide much-needed transparency, but also could shed light on unsafe detention practices and conditions.”

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