Prison deaths are up, general custody deaths are about stable, over the three years of the latest report, the Australian Institute of Criminology says. But Indigenous deaths comprise about 20-30% of the total, whereas they comprise only about 3% of the general population. This is a national disgrace, which all governments should address immediately, CLA says.

Prison deaths rise, AIC says

The total number of prison deaths rose from 43 to 58 and 58 over the last three years of monitoring, a new report shows, but the number of deaths in custody more broadly is stable.

The Australian Institute of Criminology has been monitoring deaths in custody for the 20 years since the tabling of the final report of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.

Deaths have remained stable, the AIC says. In 2008–09, there were:

  • 80 total deaths in custody (15 Indigenous persons, 19%);
  • 43 deaths in prison custody (7 Indigenous, 16%);
  • 37 deaths in police custody and custody-related operations (8 Indigenous, 22%); and
  • no deaths in juvenile detention.

In 2009–10, there were:

  • 86 total deaths in custody (20 Indigenous, 25%);
  • 58 deaths in prison custody (14 Indigenous, 24%);
  • 28 deaths in police custody and custody-related operations (6 Indigenous, 21%);
  • no deaths in juvenile detention.

In 2010–11, there were:

  • 85 total deaths in custody (21 Indigenous, 25%);
  • 58 deaths in prison custody (12 Indigenous, 21%);
  • 26 deaths in police custody and custody-related operations (8 Indigenous, 31%); and
  • one Indigenous death in juvenile detention.

Monitoring report no.20, Mathew Lyneham and Andy Chan, ISBN 978 1 922009 28 9 ISSN 1836-2079  Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology, May 2013  http://tiny.cc/nkmoxw

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