Officials admit to errors in Michigan prison death counts


In this Jan. 30, 2018, photo inmates walk across the grounds of the Idaho State Correctional Institution in Kuna, Idaho. The medium-security prison south of Boise was where Glenn Cox, serving time on a drunken driving charge, was assaulted and killed in his cell last fall. (AP Photo/Rebecca Boone)

The Michigan Department of Corrections admitted an error in how it reported state prison deaths to the federal government.

A recent investigation found that since 2016, the agency has excluded some deaths from its reporting to the Legislature without notifying lawmakers.

The department used to classify all deaths under the category of a “critical incident” but decided three years ago to stop counting deaths that prison officials deem to be the result of terminal illness.

The Michigan Department of Corrections reported 135 deaths in the state’s prisons last year to the federal government.

Spokesman Chris Gautz said that the Corrections Department’s reports submitted to the federal government are accurate, but acknowledged that some of the prison death counts in the agency’s annual reports from 2013 through 2017 were incorrect.

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