Fifth Judicial District - Department of Correctional Services


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TITLE: Offender Death


At the time of a resident's death, primary consideration should be given to the family and others who express a concern.


  1. At the time an inmate has been pronounced dead, the following persons should be contacted immediately:
    1. Assistant Director of Residential Services.
    2. District Director.
    3. County Medical Examiner (if the person died at the facility) and the Iowa Department of Health.
    4. Division of Criminal Investigation or Local Police Department or Federal Bureau of Investigation (as determined by the Assistant Director of Residential Services and the District Director).
    5. Immediate Family.
  2. When medical confirmation is received that death has occurred, the following procedures should be followed:
    1. The county medical examiner and the Iowa Department of Health will be notified by facility staff.
    2. When death has occurred within the facility, the body should not be removed or disturbed until approval is given by the medical examiner.
    3. Review Iowa Code Section 331.802 titled "Deaths/Report and Investigated".
    4. If there is concern that a crime may have been committed at the time of death, the Division of Criminal Investigation should be called to the scene.
    5. In all cases, an autopsy must be performed and a copy of the report becomes part of the resident's permanent record.
    6. A staff person will notify the immediate family and be prepared to meet with them upon request. Family members should also be referred to the appropriate Victim Services agency.
    7. If the body is unclaimed, it will be delivered to the Medical College of the University of Iowa Hospitals or some osteopathic or chiropractic college or school located in the state upon release by the medical examiner, Iowa Code Section 142.1. The expense of transporting the body to the college or school will be paid by the college or school receiving the body, Iowa Code Section 142.1.
    8. If the body is claimed, all burial or cremation expenses will be incurred by the claimant(s). If the claimant(s) are not able to pay the expense of burial or cremation, the costs will be incurred at public expense provided by the "Poor Fund".
    9. Personal property will be inventoried and stored in a secure manner until claimed. If the property is unclaimed after thirty (30) days from notification or attempt to notify, staff may destroy or give the property to charity.
    10. The PPO II/Residential Counselor will close the resident's file per procedure.
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