The principal finding of this Royal Commission was that Aboriginal people died in custody in large numbers because they were in jail in such large numbers (over-represented by a factor of 10-20).
There were many recommendations designed to reduce the numbers of Aboriginal people in custody, including:
- A series of recommendations (79-91) designed for diversion from police custody, including police practice of arrest being the sanction of last resort (87) and recognising in practice the entitlement to bail (89).
- A series of recommendations (92-121) to hold imprisonment as a last resort, including legislation to enforce prison as the last resort.
- A series of recommendations (62, 234-245) called Breaking the cycle: Aboriginal Youth, which was aimed at keeping young people out of formal legal processes and institutions (consistent with the Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989).
Note: that when jail numbers as a whole rise, the number of Aboriginal prisoners (being an overrepresented group) rose even more.
Elliott Johnston (1991) National Report: Overview and Recommendations, Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, AGPS, Canberra