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House Passes Bill That Would Require Reports on Prisoner Deaths

Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 09020568 (posted Feb. 5, 2009)"

On 02/04/09, the House voted 407-1 to pass legislation aimed at reducing prisoner fatalities by requiring states to report details about deaths to the Justice Department.

The bill (H.R. 738), sponsored by Rep. Scott (D-VA), would require any state that receives federal grants for law enforcement to report deaths in custody or face reductions in funding. Under the measure, states would have to report additional details such as demographic information and locations of prisoner fatalities.

The measure would allow states 120 days after enactment to come into compliance with the new requirements. It would also allow the attorney general to grant extensions if a state exhibits a good-faith effort to comply.

The measure now heads to the Senate for consideration.

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