Monitoring the extent and nature of deaths in custody in Australia has been made possible through the National Deaths in Custody Program (NDICP). The NDICP (established in 1992) collects data on all deaths that have occurred in police, prison or juvenile custody in Australia since 1980. The NDICP provides an important role in the monitoring, research and dissemination of information on deaths in custody and is thought to be the only such program in the world.
This paper provides the latest information on deaths in custody in Australia for the year 2000. During 2000, there were 91 deaths in police, prison and juvenile custody. The majority occurred in prison custody (n=64) where self-inflicted injury remains the leading cause of death. There were 25 police custody deaths—17 occurred during the course of custody-related police operations and eight occurred in “close police custody” (the lowest figure recorded in over 10 years). In the period under review there were two juvenile detention deaths and a total of 17 Indigenous deaths. In terms of the manner of death, self-inflicted injury was the leading cause of death for Indigenous and non-Indigenous persons in custody during 2000.