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Deaths in Custody in Australia to 30 June 2011

NCJ Number
Mathew Lyneham; Andy Chan
Date Published
222 pages
This 20th anniversary report of the Royal Commission investigation into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody compares Indigenous and non-Indigenous rates of deaths in custody in Australia
Results show that over the last 3 fiscal years, the total numbers of deaths in custody have remained stable, ranging between 79 and 85 deaths each year. Although total deaths were stable, the distribution of deaths between the three crime-related custodial settings (prison, juvenile justice and police custody) showed greater fluctuation. For example, deaths in prison custody rose, from 43 deaths in 2008-09 to 58 deaths in both 2009-2010 and 2010-2011. While prison deaths increased, deaths in police custody and custody-related operations declined over the same period, from 36 deaths in 2008-2009, to 27 deaths in 2009-2010, and 26 in 2010-2011. Regarding deaths in juvenile justice custody, there was only one death in 2010-2011 of juveniles in custody; deaths in juvenile justice custody have remained low and occur infrequently. Additional analysis is presented on the nature and circumstances of deaths in crime-related custodial settings; including prison, juvenile justice, police custody, and police custody-related operations (the latter includes sieges, raids, shootings and motor vehicle pursuits). Trend analysis is also presented from 1979-1980 onwards for prison custody and from 1989-1990 for police custody and custody-related operations. Tables and figures