Overview

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OVERVIEW

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Each figure represents a person who died in custody. Roll over the figures to learn more about these deaths.

YEAR OF DEATH

2015 saw the most custodial deaths, with 683, compared to an average of 623 per year over the previous ten years. Pre-booking deaths in police custody or in the process of arrest saw the greatest percentage increase since 2005, with 83 deaths reported in 2005, compared to 153 in 2015 (84% increase).

RACE/ETHNICITY

Black people comprised 12% of Texas’s population in 2010 and 30% of custodial deaths in 2005-2015. White people comprised 45% of Texas’s population in 2010 and 42% of custodial deaths in 2005-2015. Latinos/as comprised 38% of Texas’s population in 2010 and 28% of custodial deaths in 2005-2015.

CAUSE OF DEATH

The top three causes of death in custody were natural causes/illness, suicide, and justifiable homicide. Justifiable homicide is the term usually used to refer to homicide by police, but also included homicides by other people that were deemed justifiable. Further, some homicides by police were not categorized as “justifiable homicide” but instead were marked as “other homicide” or “other” in the custodial death database.

CHARGE STATUS

From 2005 to 2015 more than 1900 people died without having been convicted of a crime.

CUSTODY TYPE

Deaths in Texas’ criminal justice system can occur in encounters with police pre-booking, in jail, or in prison. Each phase of custody presents its own risks and challenges to a person’s wellbeing.

AGE

People who died in police custody or in police interactions were younger than people who died in prisons and jails, and age also varied by race/ethnicity. The median age for people who died in police interactions was 33, 44 in jails, and 54 in prisons. The median age for white people who died in custody was 53, while the median age for black people was 50 or and 48 for Latinos/as.

TABLE OF CASES

Name Date of death Gender Age Race Cause of death Official Summary