Deaths in custody in Australia 2021-22

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 2021–22, there were 106 deaths in custody: 84 in prison custody and 22 in police custody or custody-related operations. In total, there were 24 Indigenous deaths and 81 non-Indigenous deaths in custody and one death of a person whose Indigenous status was unknown. This report contains detailed information on these deaths and compares the findings with longer term trends.


  • Acknowledgements
  • Acronyms and abbreviations
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
    • Definitions of a death in custody
    • Data collection
    • Limitations
  • Deaths in custody 2021–22
    • Deaths in prison custody
    • Deaths in police custody and custody-related operations
  • Indigenous deaths in custody 2021–22
    • Indigenous deaths in prison custody
    • Indigenous deaths in police custody and custody-related operations
  • Non-Indigenous deaths in custody 2021–22
    • Non-Indigenous deaths in prison custody
    • Non-Indigenous deaths in police custody and custody-related operations
  • Trends in deaths in custody
    • Deaths in prison custody
    • Deaths in police custody
  • References
  • Appendix A: Methodology
    • Data items and coding
    • Out-of-scope deaths
    • Borderline cases
    • Data revisions
    • Calculation of death rates and population rates
  • Appendix B: Data tables–Deaths in custody 2021–22 key findings
  • Appendix C: Data tables–Deaths in custody by custodial authority, 1979–80 to 2021–22
  • Appendix D: Data tables–Deaths in prison custody, 1979–80 to 2021–22
  • Appendix E: Data tables–Deaths in police custody and custody-related operations, 1989–90 to 2021–22