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Australian Deaths in Custody and Custody-Related Police Operations, 1998

NCJ Number
Vicki Dalton
Date Published
6 pages
This report updates information on 1997 deaths and longer-term custodial death trends, highlighting some noticeable changes that occurred during 1998.
In 1998, 93 people died in police or prison custody. This total included 16 indigenous people (compared with 15 in 1997); among them four women and one juvenile (a 16-year-old Indigenous youth). Indigenous people were significantly overrepresented in the number of custodial deaths during 1998. In addition, Indigenous adults, who represent less than 2 percent of the national Australian population, constituted approximately 19 percent of the total prison population. Twenty-five percent of the police custody deaths were of Indigenous people. A longer-term trend revealed that, since 1980, the prison population increased by 76 percent, while the number of prison deaths increased by 150 percent. Tables, notes, figures, references