15 April 2011 saw the 20th anniversary of the release of the report of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. The Commission’s report highlighted the systemic disadvantage faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, which resulted in their higher rates of incarceration and the high rate of subsequent deaths in custody.
Many of the Royal Commission’s recommendations related to the criminal justice system, and required ongoing liaison between different government agencies. The principal thrust of the 333 recommendations was directed towards the elimination of disadvantage, empowerment and self-determination of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Twenty years on however, many of the Royal Commission’s recommendations have never been implemented and the deaths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in custody continue to be of concern.