Australian Institute of Criminology

Skip to content

Deaths in custody in Australia : National Deaths in Custody Program annual report 2004

Technical and background paper no. 19

Jacqueline Joudo and Marissa Veld
ISBN 0 642 53895 6 ISSN 1445-7261
Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology, January 2005

Abstract

This report presents information on deaths in custody in Australian states and territories for the 2004 calendar year, including comparisons by jurisdiction and Indigenous status. Information is also presented on deaths in custody in Australian states and territories between 1980 and 2004 for prison custody and between 1990 and 2004 for police custody and custody-related operations. In addition the report presents, for the first time, data specifically relating to deaths occurring during police pursuits and shooting deaths in police custody. The report finds that in 2004 there were 67 deaths in custody, comprising 39 deaths in prison custody and 28 in police custody and custody-related operations. In total 14 deaths were of Indigenous persons and 15 deaths resulted from hanging. One of the hanging deaths was of an Indigenous person. Eight deaths occurred during vehicle pursuits and another six deaths resulted from police shootings. All of the police shootings were assessed on review as justifiable homicide and all involved persons who had committed violent offences immediately prior to the shooting. The total number of deaths in custody is the lowest recorded since 1992.