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Working paper

30 years on: Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody recommendations remain unimplemented

Deaths in custody First Peoples incarceration Royal Commissions Australia MVPs 2021


This paper outlines concerns with the 2018 Deloitte Access Economics review of the implementation of the 339 recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (RCIADIC). Here, we update a statement produced by Jordan et al. in December 2018, which argued that due to its scope and methodology, the Deloitte review had the potential to misrepresent the extent to which the RCIADIC recommendations had been implemented. Drawing on coronial inquest reports, we cite new evidence of the failure of governments to implement key RCIADIC recommendations and the fatal consequences for First Nations lives.

We argue that there is a risk that misinformation may influence policy and practice responses to First Nations deaths in custody, and opportunities to address the widespread problems in Indigenous public policy in Australia may be missed. In particular, current approaches too often ignore the principles of self-determination and the realities of laws and policies as experienced by First Nations peoples. We reiterate arguments for the development of national independent monitoring of Indigenous deaths in custody and further work towards the implementation of the recommendations of RCIADIC. We also call on the Australian Government to provide a response to the Australian Law Reform Commission’s 2017 Inquiry on Indigenous Incarceration Rates.

Related Information

Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody: final report

Publication Details
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CAEPR Working Paper 140/2021