Go to top of page

Indigenous deaths in custody in Australia


Findings from the Australian Institute of Criminology's National Deaths in Custody Program (NDICP) 2002 Annual Report revealed that there were a total of 69 deaths in custody in Australia. Fifty of these deaths were in prison custody and 19 were in police custody and custody-related police operations. One in five (20 per cent) of all custodial deaths involved Indigenous persons (n=14) during 2002. Of these, eight occurred in prison facilities and six occurred whilst in the custody of police. No Indigenous persons died as a result of hanging during 2002 - a reduction from the average of five hanging deaths during the 1990's and a decline from the 8 deaths in 2001. This is the first ever year such an outcome has been recorded by the NDICP.

Total Indigenous deaths and Indigenous deaths in custody by hanging, 1990-2002



  • Collins, L & Ali, M, 2003, Deaths in Custody in Australia: 2002 National Deaths in Custody Program (NDICP) Annual Report, Research and Public Policy Series, no. 50, Australian Institute of Criminology, Canberra.

Cite article

2003. Indigenous deaths in custody in Australia. Crime facts info no. 56. Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology. https://aic.gov.au/publications/cfi/cfi056