Research into deaths in custody has shown that people in prison or police custody are much more likely to die than are people of the same age and gender in the broader community. This study finds that offenders serving community corrections orders particularly parole have an even higher probability of death than those in prison.
The authors analysed data from Victoria and found that, among an average of around 7000 persons serving community corrections orders on any one day, there have been between 50 and 70 deaths per year since 1991. Between 1995 and 1998, there were 198 deaths 62 from drugs or alcohol and 29 reported suicides.
This paper identifies risks faced by these offenders, and in particular high risk drug and alcohol behaviour. But whose responsibility is the appropriate care? There are significant issues related to duty of care, given that one-third have orders requiring no supervision.
The study focuses in detail on Victoria, but points out that we know very little about the issue, or about the situation in other States and Territories. A case is made for further research in other jurisdictions.