The Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) is committed to providing information to the public in a timely and accurate manner. This section of our website contains an extensive amount of data and information related to inmate mortality and in-custody deaths.
- The majority of inmate deaths are natural. Natural deaths include deaths that do not fall in the category of suicide, homicide or accidental. The causes of natural deaths include cancer, coronary, gastro-intestinal, respiratory issues, etc.
- FDLE (other outside law enforcement agency) is the lead investigative agency for all unattended or non-natural deaths. FDLE is also the lead investigator for deaths of non-inmate persons, life-threatening injuries to inmates, and life-threatening injuries to non-inmate persons. This is done to ensure the most thorough investigations possible. For any other incident that occurs outside of these circumstances, the Department’s Office of the Inspector General takes the lead.
- Many inmates have not had regular access to any form of health care prior to being sentenced. In addition, many inmates suffer from pre-existing conditions such as alcohol and drug addiction, mental health issues, and chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension.
- On June 30, 2019, 14.1% of inmates were serving a life sentence.
- Between June 2015 – June 2019, the Department’s elderly inmate population increased 10.8% (2,326). Elder inmates are defined by 944.02 FS as prisoners age 50 or older. As of June 2019, elderly inmates accounted for 25% of the total inmate population.
Role of the Medical Examiner in Inmate Mortality
Under Florida law, the district Medical Examiner is required to determine the cause of death for any person who dies in a prison or penal institution. The Medical Examiner has the authority to perform or have performed whatever examinations, investigations, autopsies or laboratory examinations they deem necessary or in the public interest to determine the cause or manner of death of the deceased. Autopsy results and cause and manner of death determinations are releasable only by the Medical Examiner.
As a health care provider, FDC a covered entity for purposes of the Federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) (45 C.F.R. Parts 160, 162, and 164). Pursuant to 45 C.F.R. § 164.502(f), the Department must comply with the confidentiality requirements of HIPAA with respect to the protected health information of a deceased inmate. Pursuant to section 945.10(1)(a), Florida Statutes, inmate and offender mental health, medical, or substance abuse records are confidential and exempt from the provisions of Chapter 119, Florida Statutes.
Additionally, security information/security system plans (§ 119.071 (1) (a), F.S.), are confidential and exempt from public records disclosure.
FDC has a constitutional mandate to provide health care for all inmates incarcerated in Florida’s prisons. This includes preventative health services, dental, mental health treatment, hospital care, and treatment of chronic disease. The Department is committed to ensuring inmates receive appropriate medical and behavioral health care that is in line with evolving standards of care nationally.
Deaths by executions are not reflected in this data. A list of executions can be found here.
Manner of Death 2014-2019
The table below reflects the number of inmate deaths from fiscal year 2014-2015 to present by manner of death. A "pending" status indicates that the Department has not received the conclusions by the Medical Examiner.
Mortality data separated by manner of death from the years 2014 to 2019
|Fiscal Year||Natural*||Accident||Homicide||Suicide||Pending||Total||Inmate Population on June 30th|
Fiscal Year 2019-20 counts include deaths through 12-31-2019