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‘It’s time for people to stop sitting on their hands’: A solution to Indigenous deaths in custody is urgently needed

In April 1991 federal court judge James Henry Muirhead handed his final report from the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. The report made more than 300 recommendations to prevent the abnormally high number of deaths of Indigenous people during arrest, pursuit, remand or in prison.

Since the royal commission another 470 Indigenous people have died in custody including five in March this year.

The federal government has said most of the recommendations from the Muirhead report have been implemented, but critics of policy around the imprisonment of Indigenous people say the recent deaths highlight the recommendations that weren’t implemented, including one that said incarceration should only be a matter of last resort.

Others argue the majority of Aboriginal deaths in custody are due to natural causes and Indigenous people in prison are slightly less likely to die than non-Indigenous people.

Today on Please Explain Nathanael Cooper talks to Gamilaroi women Brooke Boney about the complex and sensitive issue of Indigenous deaths in custody.

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