Deaths in Custody

Deaths in Custody  

David Dungay Jr death in custody inquest

Deaths in Custody are an expression of the ultimate failure in the duty of care of police and corrective services when they isolate people from their support. Despite the clear mandate of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Deaths in Custody and the investment of hundreds of millions of government dollars, the deaths continue uninterrupted. 

The sharp increase in the numbers of Aboriginal deaths in custody indicates that the recommendations of the Royal Commission are not being properly implemented and continues to reflect the grossly disproportionate representation of indigenous peoples within the criminal justice system. 

Single cell
 accommodation as an option giving privacy and safety is recommended by "The Standard Guideline for Corrections in Australia 2012". Frank Townsend, Scott Simpson, Craig Behr are some of the victims of forced shared cells



Tracy Brannigan’s avoidable death in custody marks the loss of a loved one and must force change in the prison system. She was owed a duty of care but rather than accepting responsibility, they isolated her in a cell away from her family and support. Their callous indifference caused her death.

Tracy Brannigan's case and Inquest raised issues that haven't yet been addressed, despite the wide distribution of the Tracy Brannigan Action Plan.


2006 Prisoner Statistics
2005 Prisoner Statistics 



Recommendation 41 of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody defines a death in custody as follows:
(i) the death wherever occurring of a person who is in prison custodyor police custody or detention as a juvenile;
(ii) the death wherever occurring of a person whose death is caused or contributed to by traumatic injuries sustained, or by lack of proper care whilst in such custody or detention;
(iii) the death wherever occurring of a person who dies or is fatally injured in the process of police or prison officers attempting to detain that person; and
(iv) the death wherever occurring of a person who dies or is fatally injured in the process of that person escaping or attempting to escape from prison custody or police custody or juvenile detention.



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