Skip to main content

Sudden Deaths in Police Custody (and Other Detention Facilities) – Analysis of Causes and the Need for Prevention

  • 897 Accesses

Abstract

When a suspect or delinquent is taken into custody, the custodian (state authority) has to ensure, that custody is safe for the detainee and fulfills human rights standards. Nevertheless, (sudden) deaths in custody occur, that provoke questions and/or allegations towards the custodian. In these cases, independent (medico-legal) investigations are essential to clarify the circumstances of death and to identify risk-factors that can be considered in prevention campaigns.

Keywords

  • Sudden Death
  • Police Officer
  • Natural Death
  • Health Care Personnel
  • Forensic Pathologist

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

Chapter
USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • DOI: 10.1007/978-94-017-7558-8_4
  • Chapter length: 12 pages
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
eBook
USD   84.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-94-017-7558-8
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book
USD   109.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book
USD   159.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

Notes

  1. 1.

    The term ‘prison’ is used to refer to any kind of detention facility including remand prisons or jails and penitentiaries. The terms ‘prisoner’ and ‘detainee’ are used interchangeably, indicating any person detained in a prison.

References

  • Alexander, J. (2009). Death and disease in Zimbabwe’s prisons. Lancet, 373(9668), 995–996.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Anders, S., Tsokos, M., & Püschel, K. (2003). Todesfälle im Gewahrsam. Rechtsmedizin, 13(2), 77–81.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cao, M., Shinbane, J. S., Gillberg, J. M., Saxon, L. A., & Swerdlow, C. D. (2007). Taser-induced rapid ventricular myocardial capture demonstrated by pacemaker intracardiac electrograms. Journal of Cardiovascular Electrophysiology, 18(8), 876–879.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Chan, T. C., Vilke, G. M., & Neuman, T. (1998). Reexamination of custody restraint position and positional asphyxia. The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology, 19(3), 201–205.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • de Montmollin, D., MacPhail, J., McMahon, J., & Coninx, R. (2002). International Committee of the Red Cross, Geneva, Switzerland. Outbreak of beriberi in a prison in West Africa. Tropical Doctor, 32(4), 234–236.

    Google Scholar 

  • Dettmeyer, R., Preuss, J., & Madea, B. (2009). Lagebedingter Erstickungstod - Positionale Asphyxie - bei polizeilichen Massnahmen. Kriminalistik, 63, 161–167.

    Google Scholar 

  • Dogra, T. D., Bhardwaj, D. N., Sharma, G. A., & Lalwani, S. (2008). Postmortem examination in cases of custodial death in India. Journal of the Indian Medical Association, 106(2), 101–106.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ehrlich, E., Maxeiner, H., & Klug, E. (1999). Plötzlicher Tod bei der polizeilichen Festnahme unter Cocainintoxikation. Rechtsmedizin, 9, 73–76.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Elger, B. S. (2008). Towards equivalent health care of prisoners: European soft law and public health policy in Geneva. Journal of Public Health Policy, 29(2), 192–206.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Elger, B. S. (2011). Prison medicine, public health policy and ethics: The Geneva experience. Swiss Medical Weekly, IF 1.8.

    Google Scholar 

  • Fazel, S., & Benning, R. (2006). Natural deaths in male prisoners: A 20-year mortality study. European Journal of Public Health, 16(4), 441–444.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Feeney, C., Vu, J., & Ani, C. (2010). Acute agitated delirious state associated with Taser exposure. Journal of the National Medical Association, 102(12), 1254–1257.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Frater, A. (2008). Deaths in custody. British Medical Journal, 336(7649), 845–846.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Han, J. S., Chopra, A., & Carr, D. (2009). Ophthalmic injuries from a TASER. Canadian Journal of Emergency Medical Care, 11(1), 90–93.

    Google Scholar 

  • Heide, S., Kleiber, M., Hanke, S., & Stiller, D. (2009). Deaths in German police custody. European Journal of Public Health, 19(6), 597–601.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Heide, S., Stiller, D., Lessig, R., Lautenschlager, C., Birkholz, M., & Fruchtnicht, W. (2012). Medical examination of fitness for police custody in two large German towns. International Journal of Legal Medicine, 126(1), 27–35.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Hutson, H. R., Anglin, D., Yarbrough, J., Hardaway, K., Russell, M., Strote, J., Canter, M., & Blum, B. (1998). Suicide by Cop. Annals of Emergency Medicine, 32(6), 665–669.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Kim, S., Ting, A., Puisis, M., Rodriguez, S., Benson, R., Mennella, C., & Davis, F. (2007). Deaths in the Cook County jail: 10-year report, 1995–2004. Journal of Urban Health: Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine, 84(1), 70–84.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • MacDonald, J. M., Kaminski, R. J., & Smith, M. R. (2009). The effect of less-lethal weapons on injuries in police use-of-force events. American Journal of Public Health, 99(12), 2268–2274.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Mangus, B. E., Shen, L. Y., Helmer, S. D., Maher, J., & Smith, R. S. (2008). Taser and Taser associated injuries: A case series. The American Surgeon, 74(9), 862–865.

    Google Scholar 

  • Multerer, S., Berkenbosch, J. W., Das, B., & Johnsrude, C. (2009). Atrial fibrillation after taser exposure in a previously healthy adolescent. Pediatric Emergency Care, 25(12), 851–853.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • O’Halloran, R. L., & Frank, J. G. (2000). Asphyxial death during prone restraint revisited: A report of 21 cases. The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology, 21(1), 39–52.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • O’Halloran, R. L., & Lewman, L. V. (1993). Restraint asphyxiation in excited delirium. The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology, 14(4), 289–295.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Otahbachi, M., Cevik, C., Bagdure, S., & Nugent, K. (2010). Excited delirium, restraints, and unexpected death: A review of pathogenesis. The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology, 31(2), 107–112.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Rabe, K. (2012). Prison structure, inmate mortality and suicide risk in Europe. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 35(3), 222–230. doi:10.1016/j.ijlp.2012.02.012.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Reay, D. T., & Howard, J. D. (1999). Restraint position and positional asphyxia. Letter to the Editor. The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology, 20(3), 300–301.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Space I and II (2008). 1 Annual penal statistics of the Council of Europe—2006 enquiry. www.coe.int/legalcooperation. Accessed 5 Aprl 2013.

  • Spann, W., Liebhardt, E., & Seifert, S. (1979). Suizide in bayerischen Vollzugsanstalten. Münchener Medizinische Wochenschrift, 121(9), 315–316.

    Google Scholar 

  • Steinhäuser, A. (1997). Analyse der Todesursachen in mittelrheinischen Haftanstalten und im Polizeigewahrsam von 1949 bis 1990. Archiv für Kriminal-Anthropologie und Kriminalistik, 199, 88–96.

    Google Scholar 

  • Stratton, S. J., Rogers, C., Brickett, K., & Gruzinski, G. (2001). Factors associated with sudden death of individuals requiring restraint for excited delirium. The American Journal of Emergency Medicine, 19(3), 187–191.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Strote, J., & Range-Hutson, H. (2006). Taser use in restraint-related deaths. Prehospital Emergency Care, 10(4), 447–450.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Wobeser, W. L., Datema, J., Bechard, B., & Ford, P. (2002). Causes of death among people in custody in Ontario, 1990–1999. Canadian Medical Association Journal = Journal de l’Association medicale canadienne, 167(10), 1109–1113.

    Google Scholar 

  • Zack, F., Rummel, J., Wegener, R., & Büttner, A. (2009). Plötzlicher Tod nach der Festnahme eines exzitierten Mannes. Rechtsmedizin, 19(5), 341–344.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Christoph G. Birngruber .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2017 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht

About this chapter

Cite this chapter

Birngruber, C.G., Dettmeyer, R.B., Janzen, S., Elger, B.S. (2017). Sudden Deaths in Police Custody (and Other Detention Facilities) – Analysis of Causes and the Need for Prevention. In: Elger, B., Ritter, C., Stöver, H. (eds) Emerging Issues in Prison Health. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-017-7558-8_4

Download citation

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-017-7558-8_4

  • Published:

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Dordrecht

  • Print ISBN: 978-94-017-7556-4

  • Online ISBN: 978-94-017-7558-8

  • eBook Packages: Social SciencesSocial Sciences (R0)