Deaths in custody

CSC takes the death of an inmate very seriously. CSC recognizes that deaths in custody remains a complex and difficult issue and that it is imperative to continuously work to enhance its related prevention and intervention strategies.

CSC is committed to learning from these deaths in custody and to preventing future non-natural deaths. Over the five fiscal years from 2010/2011 to 2014/2015, an average of 55 deaths in custody occurred per year. Natural deaths accounted for over half of all deaths, and suicide was the most common type of non-natural death.

Whenever a person dies in federal custody, and there are any suspicions that it is not natural, the police are called in to investigate. If the death appears to be of natural causes, we will conduct a mortality review.

If CSC staff believe that the death was from other causes (such as a suicide or an assault), then the Coroner or Medical Examiner will investigate. CSC will also hold a National Board of Investigation (BOI). A BOI convened by the Commissioner into the death of an inmate will always include a member of the community as a board member to enhance accountability and transparency.

BOIs and Coroner's Inquests sometimes make recommendations to CSC about changing the way we manage inmates under our care and custody. These recommendations are carefully reviewed and implemented as appropriate. We are committed to learning all we can to ensure that future deaths can be prevented.

CSC produces an annual report on deaths in custody, which includes compiled information gathered by the Policy Sector's Research Branch. These reports provide information in order to enhance accountability and transparency and to inform prevention and intervention strategies. These reports also create an important opportunity for information sharing, which allows correctional jurisdictions to learn from each other what the most effective methods to reduce and prevent deaths in custody are.

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All deaths

Death by natural causes

Death by non-natural causes

Published reports on deaths in custody


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