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Monash Expert: 30th anniversary of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody

Today marks 30 years since findings were handed down in the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. A Monash University expert is available to discuss the recommendations, their implementation and what has happened over the last three decades. 


Dr Kate Burns, Lecturer, Criminology

Contact: +61 401 810 698 or kate.burns@monash.edu

Read more of Dr Burns’ commentary at Monash Lens


  • Whilst the recommendations continue to influence social and criminal justice policy, many of them haven’t been fully implemented 

  • The incarceration rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people vs the rate of non-Indigenous people

  • Three areas of reform that could start addressing the overrepresentation of Aboriginal people in the criminal justice system: self-determination; raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility and changing bail laws


The following can be attributed to Dr Burns:

“Nearly 500 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have died in police or prison custody since these findings were handed down and we still have Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people incarcerated at 13 times the rate of non-Indigenous people.


“It is clear that state, territory and federal governments must work together to address the systemic issues that are causing the overrepresentation of First Nations people in the criminal justice systems and deaths in custody.


“As we reflect on the past 30 years, all levels of government must commit to positive change to address the overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the criminal justice system. There doesn’t need to be another Royal Commission or Inquiry, the many organisations have put forward solutions – they just need to be implemented.”


Dr Burns has written a Monash Lens article about the anniversary of the Royal Commission which is available for republication.


For any other topics on which you may be seeking expert comment, please contact the Monash University Media team on +61 3 9903 4840 or media@monash.edu.
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