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Press Release

Justice Department to Provide Technical Assistance Related to Next-of-Kin Death Notifications to the Jackson, Mississippi, Police Department and Hinds County Coroner’s Office

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Mississippi

The Justice Department announced today that it will provide technical assistance to the Jackson Police Department (JPD) in Jackson, Mississippi, and the Hinds County Coroner’s Office in Hinds County, Mississippi, concerning their policies and procedures related to next-of-kin death notifications.

The department is providing this technical assistance to JPD and the Hinds County Coroner’s Office pursuant to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI), which prohibits discrimination based on race, color and national origin in programs receiving federal financial assistance. The lack of timely next-of-kin death notifications resulted in deceased individuals receiving pauper’s burials in unmarked graves in Hinds County, and some reports have indicated that there may be a perception that race or other factors played a role in the process concerning next-of-kin death notifications.  

“Families want and deserve transparency and the opportunity to make decisions about their loved ones’ burials,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “Through technical assistance, we aim to ensure that officials are able to deliver death notifications and make decisions regarding burials in a timely and trauma-informed way that complies with federal civil rights law.”

“The department looks forward to working with city and county officials to improve the death notification system in the Jackson area so that the families of missing and deceased persons can receive all the information available about their loved ones,” said U.S. Attorney Todd Gee for the Southern District of Mississippi.

The technical assistance, which will be provided by the Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Mississippi, will examine JPD’s General Order on Missing Persons and new General Order on Death Notifications and provide recommendations on implementation and training. The technical assistance to the Hinds County Coroner’s Office will provide recommendations on policies and training related to locating next-of-kin.

The provision of technical assistance is not a finding of fault or wrongdoing by JPD, the Hinds County Coroner’s Office or any other individual or entity. JPD and the Hinds County Coroner’s Office voluntarily agreed to receive technical assistance and support from the department.

Under Title VI, the department is working to make sure that law enforcement agencies and other recipients of federal funding take affirmative steps to comply with their civil rights obligations by offering technical assistance to facilitate Title VI compliance. Technical assistance helps agencies update and/or enhance their policies and practices, while strengthening the connection between law enforcement agencies and communities of color and other stakeholders. For example, the department has provided technical assistance through its Law Enforcement Language Access Initiative, a nationwide effort to assist law enforcement agencies in meeting their obligations to provide meaningful language assistance to limited English proficient individuals.

Additional information about the Civil Rights Division is available on its website at

Updated April 4, 2024

Civil Rights