Australian Institute of Criminology

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Aboriginal deaths in custody

Trends & issues in crime and criminal justice no. 12

Peter Grabosky, Paul Wilson, Kayleen Hazlehurst and Anita Scandia
ISBN 0 642 13342 5 ISSN 0817-8542
Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology, May 1988


The issue of Aboriginal deaths in prisons and holding cells is particularly complex. This report presents a statistical summary of the basic facts surrounding those cases which have been identified, including the cause of death, the circumstances giving rise to detention, and various demographic characteristics. It also summarises options which could significantly lower the risk of deaths in custody. They relate to: non institutional alternatives; management of custodial facilities; internal and coronial investigations; and criminal and civil liability.