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Nearly 7,000 people have died in Texas prisons, jails or police custody in the past decade

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Nearly 7,000 people have died in Texas prisons, jails or police custody in the past decade

6,913 people have died in Texas state custody in the past decade, according to an online database by the Texas Justice Initiative. 

Since 2005 the Texas Attorney General's office has been collecting data from reports filed when someone dies in police, jail, or prison custody, or from the use of force by a police officer.

Eight percent of the deaths are comprised partially by the latter -- categorized as justifiable homicide -- or when death by police or other people that was deemed without criminal intent. 

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The database can be filtered by cause of death or demographic breakdowns like race and ethnicity and age. The data is riddled with shocking statistics.

Texas leads the country in incarceration rates, with a 219,100 people in jail or prison, according to data released in December 2015 by the Bureau of Justice Statistics. The closest runner-up is California with 207,100.

The website includes icons for every 6,913 people who have died. Hovering over an individual name reveals statistics about their demographic and cause of death. 

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People like Sandra Bland, who was found dead in her jail cell three days after being arrested at a routine traffic stop, are in the database. Her death was ruled a suicide .

We can't really tell if they're instances of medical neglect or whether these deaths could have been prevented.
Amanda Woog, project director for the initiative

This is the first time this information has been available online. Even though the database is extensive, project director for the initiative Amanda Woog said the reports from the Texas attorney general's office lack details and specifics about the deaths.

Having a grasp of how many people we're talking about and how they're dying will help us come up with targeted solutions.
Amanda Woog, project director for the initiative

Despite this, Woog and her colleagues are hoping the database will spur change, forcing Texas lawmakers to pass new legislation, improve medical care and maybe even reduce the rate of incarceration. 

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