The purpose of this study is to review retrospectively the deaths that have occurred in the Shelby County detention center from 1970-85. The data are compared & contrasted with other studies to discern significant & preventable causes of death in custody. This study confirmed natural causes as most prevalent; however, suicide accounted for greater than 20% of all deaths. Suicide occurred by hanging in 90% of cases. This is a preventable cause of death & means of prevention are discussed. 5 refs.