“ National crisis ”: two more deaths of Indigenous people in detention

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Seven Indigenous people have died in custody across Australia in the past two months, following two more confirmed deaths in New South Wales and Victoria.

A man died Monday evening at Port Phillip Prison in west Melbourne, Victoria Corrections said.

He is believed to have suffered from a medical episode. A smoking ceremony was being organized.

Separately, authorities in New South Wales confirmed that a 37-year-old man was found dead in his cell at Cessnock Correctional Center on Tuesday morning.

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Both deaths have been reported to state coroners.

They follow the deaths of five other Indigenous people in custody in Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australia since March 2.

They include a man in his thirties in an NSW prison hospital, and another man and woman, respectively at Ravenhall Correctional Center in Victoria and in custody in New South Wales.

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Barkindji man Anzac Sullivan, 37, died in a police chase at Broken Hill and a 45-year-old man died in Perth hospital.

NSW Greens MLC David Shoebridge said the deaths were a national crisis and reinforced the urgent need to implement the 339 recommendations of the Royal Commission on Deaths in Custody.

“Every First Nations death in custody is the inevitable result of the racist criminal justice system that makes New South Wales First Nations people the most incarcerated people in the world,” he said.

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“The government has been warned and it is urgent to act. We cannot accept that First Nations people die in detention on a regular basis.

Over 470 Indigenous people have died in custody since the 1991 report of the Royal Commission into Indigenous Deaths in Custody.

-AAP

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