Upper house Labor MP and chair of the committee Adam Searle said the death of the 35-year-old man last week was concerning.
“Obviously we would like the authorities to make clear what happened as soon as possible so that the community can have confidence in the processes and institutions that deal with all deaths in custody, including those of First Nations people, ” he said.
More than 400 Indigenous people have died in custody since 1991, when the final report of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody was handed down.
The royal commission found Indigenous people were considerably more likely than non-Indigenous people to be arrested and imprisoned.
As a proportion of all prisoners who die in custody, Aboriginal people do not die at a greater rate than non-Indigenous people. But as a proportion of the Indigenous population, Aboriginal people are 10 times more likely to die in prison, where the leading cause of death is medical issues.
The Australian Institute of Criminology released findings in December highlighting 16 Indigenous deaths in prison custody nationwide in 2018–19, which accounted for 18 per cent of all deaths in prison custody over the period.
The upper house inquiry will hand down its final report on April 15, to mark the 30 year anniversary of the royal commission.
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