Australian Institute of Criminology

Skip to content

Indigenous deaths in custody in Australia

Crime facts info no. 56

ISSN 1445-7288
Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology, August 2003

Findings from the Australian Institute of Criminology's National Deaths in Custody Program (NDICP) 2002 Annual Report revealed that there were a total of 69 deaths in custody in Australia. Fifty of these deaths were in prison custody and 19 were in police custody and custody-related police operations. One in five (20 per cent) of all custodial deaths involved Indigenous persons (n=14) during 2002. Of these, eight occurred in prison facilities and six occurred whilst in the custody of police. No Indigenous persons died as a result of hanging during 2002 - a reduction from the average of five hanging deaths during the 1990's and a decline from the 8 deaths in 2001. This is the first ever year such an outcome has been recorded by the NDICP.

Total Indigenous deaths and Indigenous deaths in custody by hanging, 1990-2002



  • Collins, L & Ali, M, 2003, Deaths in Custody in Australia: 2002 National Deaths in Custody Program (NDICP) Annual Report, Research and Public Policy Series, no. 50, Australian Institute of Criminology, Canberra.