Deaths in custody in Australia 2019-20

Orange leaf on chainlink fence

The National Deaths in Custody Program has monitored the extent and nature of deaths occurring in prison, police custody and youth detention in Australia since 1980. The Australian Institute of Criminology has coordinated the program since its establishment in 1992, the result of a recommendation made the previous year by the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. In 2019-20 there were 113 deaths in custody: 89 in prison custody and 24 in police custody or custody-related operations. This report contains detailed information on these deaths and compares the findings to longer term trends.


  • Acknowledgements
  • Acronyms and abbreviations
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Deaths in prison custody
  • Deaths in police custody and custody-related operations
  • References
  • Appendix A: Methodology
  • Appendix B: Data tables - Deaths in custody 2019-20 key findings
  • Appendix C: Data tables - Deaths in custody by custodial authority, 1979-80 to 2019-20
  • Appendix D: Data tables - Deaths in prison custody, 1979-80 to 2019-20
  • Appendix E: Data tables - Deaths in police custody and custody-related operations, 1989-90 to 2019-20