Australian Institute of Criminology

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Prison deaths 1980-97: national overview and state trends

Trends & issues in crime and criminal justice no. 81

Vicki Dalton
ISBN 0 642 24064 7 ISSN 0817-8542
Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology, March 1998


During the period 1980 to 1997 seven hundred and nineteen people have died in Australia's prisons, with 1996-1997 seeing the largest increase in the number of deaths. Data presented in this paper highlight some of the notable jurisdictional differences, including comparisons between death rates for both indigenous and non-indigenous people.


  • Media release: Police custody deaths down but prison custody deaths up
  • Deaths in custody monitoring program