This 2006 Annual Report of Australia’s National Deaths in Custody Program provides data and information on the extent and nature of deaths that have occurred in police, prison, and juvenile custody.
In 2006, 54 deaths occurred in prison, police, and juvenile custody across Australia; 31 deaths occurred in prison custody (4 were Indigenous individuals); 22 deaths occurred in police custody-related operations (6 Indigenous individuals); and 1 Indigenous person died in juvenile detention. Seven deaths occurred in prison due to hanging (two Indigenous persons); no hanging deaths occurred in police custody. Ten deaths occurred during police motor vehicle pursuits, and 2 deaths resulted from police shootings. Regarding trends in national deaths in custody in Australia, rates of death for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous prisoners have declined significantly since the mid-1990s. The program is not yet able to calculate comparable rates for police custody, since there are no national annual data on the number of persons who come into contact with the police or who are detained in custody by police. Although the overall findings of this report are generally positive, as decreases have occurred in the overall number of deaths in custody and in overall deaths of Indigenous persons, the period following release is discussed as a critical factor in a prisoner’s risk of death. Recent Australian research has found that individuals released from custody are at particular risk for suicide during the first few weeks after release. 57 tables and 46 references
Australian Institute of Criminology
GPO Box 2944, Canberra ACT, 2601 Australia, Australia
From Research and Public Policy Series, No. 85