Death in Custody is the ultimate failure in the duty of care that is incumbent upon police and corrective services. In the 1980s some 100 Indigenous lives were lost in similar circumstances. In the 1990s, a further 147 perished in prisons and detention centres around the country.
Justice Action does not per se maintain a facilitator with specific responsibilities for Deaths in Custody-related issues. Rather, we recognise all deaths in custody, under any circumstance, as the ultimate failure in the duty of care that is incumbent upon police and corrective services to fulfill. The immediacy of response required when a death in custody occurs is a JA group responsibility.
We work in close alliance particularly with the Aboriginal Deaths in Custody Watch Committee of New South Wales. 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.
Justice Action is currently pursuing numerous deaths in custody cases.