Newsletter

Weekly Spotlight: Closing out Sunshine Week

This week, POGO commemorated Sunshine Week by shedding light on the shameful lack of transparency around deaths in law enforcement custody — a crisis that no one, not even the government, knows the full scope of.  

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This week, POGO commemorated Sunshine Week by shedding light on the shameful lack of transparency around deaths in law enforcement custody — a crisis that no one, not even the government, knows the full scope of.

This is despite the existence of a federal law, the Death in Custody Reporting Act, that mandates that the Department of Justice (DOJ) collect and study this information. In the decade since it was reauthorized, there’s been little progress in implementing the law effectively. There’s still no authoritative, comprehensive, or useful source of death in custody data to speak of — and the government hides too much of the data it does have. The dearth of data continues to delay any meaningful or actionable changes to reduce preventable deaths in custody.

And there’s no accountability for preventable deaths that go uncounted. Earlier this week, we sent a letter to the DOJ pushing them to take two concrete steps to improve the way it collects and reports data about deaths in custody. You can urge the DOJ to take these steps too, by signing our petition now.

Senate Subcommittee on Human Rights Chair Jon Ossoff (D-GA) also announced this week that he and the Government Accountability Office launched an inquiry into deaths in federal custody. We’re encouraged that this crisis is gaining some of the critical attention it deserves.


LETTER

Recommendations for DOJ to Improve Death in Custody Reporting

A decade into DCRA, the Justice Department can take concrete steps to make sure the program works as intended: to help save lives.

Read More


QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“There’s no question there are pockets of severe problems inside of [Department of Homeland Security], some of those pockets include agencies that are heavily male-dominated like [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] and [Customs and Border Protection], especially out in the field.”

Nick Schwellenbach, Senior Investigator, in the Washington Post


OVERHEARD


ONE LINERS

“Each year the Department of Defense makes up more than half of the discretionary budget of the federal government and is likely to reach a trillion dollars in annual spending within the next couple of fiscal year cycles, all funded by taxpayer dollars. Congress must find innovative and accountable ways for the DoD to pass an audit.”

Omar Tabuni, Government Affairs Manager, in Rolling Stone

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