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Research Guides


Aboriginal Deaths in Custody: The Royal Commission and its Records, 1987–91


3 Research Material

In order to understand the phenomenon of Aboriginal deaths in custody, original research was necessary. The Deputy Head of the Australian Institute of Criminology was seconded to head the Commission’s Criminology Research Unit, established in the Canberra Office of the Commission. In all, twenty-one research papers were prepared by the unit.

In addition, consultants were engaged on a range of issues to supplement the information and research resources of the Commission. Research was carried out under the direction of individual Commissioners and was coordinated nationally to avoid duplication of effort. A total of forty-six research papers were commissioned.

RECORDS AT THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES
The Commission's records identified as research material or records having a close connection with research projects are:
Non-custodial deaths, research section material A8576
Suicides – ACT and SA – research section material A8577
Self-inflicted harm in custody – research section material A8578
Folders of press clippings and printouts from the research database on reported deaths in custody – research section material A8579
Survey of arrest, bail and custody, Kalgoorlie and Roebourne, Western Australia – research section material A8581
Research cases of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody A8582
Folders of computer printouts of cases concerning Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal deaths in custody A8583
Police custody survey – research section material A8585
Research resource material A8586
Research papers A8617
Miscellaneous literature records D4112
South Australian Library research material D4151
Resource information database information sheets D4152
NON-CUSTODIAL DEATHS, RESEARCH SECTION MATERIAL, SINGLE NUMBER SERIES, 1987–90
This series consists of two folders. The first contains a computer printout with statistical details of deaths in Australia and New Zealand. The second is a questionnaire covering details of deaths in Australia of people who had been given an alternative to prison for their sentence.
Series: A8576
Quantity: 0.36 metres in Canberra), 0.18 metres in Perth
Data printouts of non-custodial deaths 1987–1988 for Australia and New Zealand A8576, 1
Death at Broome A8576, 3
Death at Broome – May 1990 A8576, 5
Public access to the records: If any material from this series is sought the formal access arrangements must be applied (see page 12 of the Guide for an explanation of the formal access arrangements).
SUICIDES – ACT AND SA – RESEARCH SECTION MATERIAL, SINGLE NUMBER SERIES, 1987–90
These three binders of material provide selected details of all suicides in the Australian Capital Territory and South Australia for the period 1980 to 1988. The series includes the forms on which the information was completed and the computer processing that the information underwent.
Series: A8577
Quantity: 0.36 metres in Canberra, 0.18 metres in Adelaide
Australian Federal Police suicide records, 1980–1988 A8577, 1
ACT suicides – data set printouts, data definitions and working papers A8577, 2
SA suicides 1/1/1980 to 30/6/1988 – data and printouts A8577, 3
Public access to the records: If any material from this series is sought the formal access arrangements must be applied (see page 12 of the Guide for an explanation of the formal access arrangements).
SELF-INFLICTED HARM IN CUSTODY – RESEARCH SECTION MATERIAL, SINGLE NUMBER SERIES, 1988–90
This series is four folders of material providing details of all 'self-inflicted harm' by persons in custody in Australia. The folders are divided by time period, 1 April 1989 to 30 September 1989, and prior to 1 April 1989. They include the data entry forms on which the information was entered prior to computer processing, and the printouts after processing the information.
Series: A8578
Quantity: 0.36 metres in Canberra
Confidential – attempted suicides in custody data entry forms, 1/4/1989 to 30/9/1989 Australia (by State) 1–395 A8578, 1
Confidential – dataset printouts of self-harm in custody, 1/4/1989 to 30/9/1989 data definitions completed A8578, 2
Confidential – self-harm in custody prior to 1/4/1989 (1988) A8578, 3
Public access to the records: If any material from this series is sought the formal access arrangements must be applied (see page 12 of the Guide for an explanation of the formal access arrangements).
FOLDERS OF PRESS CLIPPINGS AND PRINTOUTS FROM THE RESEARCH DATABASE ON REPORTED DEATHS IN CUSTODY – RESEARCH SECTION MATERIAL, 1988–90
This series is the database information used by the Commission to produce its figures on Aboriginal people. It includes the original data entry forms and printouts from the database, and is held in four binders. The database provided the information for the figures given in the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody Research Paper No. 21 and Chapter Two of the National Report.
Series: A8579
Quantity: 0.36 metres in Canberra
Research database by State and Royal Commission case minute 21/6/1989 NT A8579, 1
Research database completed forms by State as at 26/9/1988, press clippings ACT A8579, 2
List of reported Aboriginal deaths in custody and other relevant information for entering into the research database 25/5/1989, press cutting 17/11/1987 A8579, 3
Public access to the records: If any material from this series is sought the formal access arrangements must be applied (see page 12 of the Guide for an explanation of the formal access arrangements).
SURVEY OF ARREST, BAIL AND CUSTODY – KALGOORLIE AND ROEBOURNE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA – RESEARCH SECTION MATERIAL, SINGLE NUMBER SERIES, 1987–90
These five folders cover the Commission's Research Section survey forms completed on each arrest in Roebourne Police Station between July and November 1987 and Kalgoorlie Police Station between March and April 1990. As well as the original survey forms there are computer printouts giving statistical analysis of the figures.
Series: A8581
Quantity: 0.54 metres in Perth
Roebourne survey forms – 001 to 357 A8581, 1
Roebourne survey forms – 358 to 730 A8581, 2
Roebourne survey forms – data printout and survey findings A8581, 3
Public access to the records: If any material from this series is sought the formal access arrangements must be applied (see page 12 of the Guide for an explanation of the formal access arrangements).
RESEARCH CASES OF THE ROYAL COMMISSION INTO ABORIGINAL DEATHS IN CUSTODY, SINGLE NUMBER SERIES WITH STATE PREFIX, 1987–90
These five folders contain selected information on each case investigated by the Royal Commission. The information was used for data entry for computer analysis of the figures. Victorian, Tasmanian and Northern Territory cases have been amalgamated in one folder, and New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia each have a separate folder. The folders include computer dataset printouts of the information.
Series: A8582
Quantity: 0.36 metres in Sydney, 0.36 metres in Brisbane, 0.36 metres in Adelaide, 0.07 metres in Hobart, 0.18 metres in Melbourne, 0.09 metres in Darwin, 0.18 metres in Perth
New South Wales – N/1 (Murray) to N/19 (Gundy) A8582, 1
Queensland – QA (Pilot) to QX (Short) A8582, 2
South Australia – S1 (Dixon) to S12 (Karpany) A8582, 3
Public access to the records: If any material from this series is sought the formal access arrangements must be applied (see page 12 of the Guide for an explanation of the formal access arrangements).
FOLDERS OF COMPUTER PRINTOUTS OF CASES CONCERNING ABORIGINAL AND NON-ABORIGINAL DEATHS IN CUSTODY – RESEARCH SECTION MATERIAL, 1987–90
These five folders contain material collected by the Research Section of the Royal Commission covering all deaths in custody, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal. The material covers the period from 1980 to 1990. There are various statistical break downs of the figures, such as by year and State. The period 1980 to 1988 is covered in one folder, while 1989 and 1990 each have a separate folder.
Series: A8583
Quantity: 0.54 metres in Canberra
NSW/ACT A8583, 1
1989 deaths – update 1980/1988 A8583, 2
NSW/ACT – custody, 1990 A8583, 3
Public access to the records: If any material from this series is sought the formal access arrangements must be applied (see page 12 of the Guide for an explanation of the formal access arrangements).
POLICE CUSTODY SURVEY – RESEARCH SECTION MATERIAL – SINGLE NUMBER AND CHRONOLOGICAL SERIES, 1987–90
These folders contain survey forms and computer printouts of various investigations made by the research section of the Commission into people held in police custody. All cases of police custody during August 1988 throughout Australia were examined as one of the investigations. Other investigations into police custody covered cases of custody for drunkenness and a longer study from July 1986 to August 1987 for the Australian Capital Territory.
Series: A8585
Quantity: 5.22 metres in Canberra
Confidential – Dataset printouts for RCIADIC – research paper No. 11 (prison data) – p11 – MSO A8585, 1
Confidential – Queensland survey forms – 22429 to 25176 A8585, 19
Confidential – Queensland survey forms – 27600 to 28577 A8585, 21
Public access to the records: If any material from this series is sought the formal access arrangements must be applied (see page 12 of the Guide for an explanation of the formal access arrangements).
RESEARCH RESOURCE MATERIAL, CHRONOLOGICAL SERIES, 1987–90
This material was collected by the research section of the Royal Commission with reference to the inquiries and the background issues identified by the Commission. It includes statistical information about causes of death, journal articles about suicides and articles on mental health.
Series: A8586
Quantity: 0.9 metres in Canberra
Copies of Australian Bureau of Statistics Census Data (1986) Table CA1 – census categories A8586, 1
Copies of journal articles relating to suicides: Albrecht –Clifford A8586, 3
Copies of journal articles relating to mental health, particularly relating to Aborigines, Copeman – Lickiss A8586, 5
Public access to the records: If any material from this series is sought the formal access arrangements must be applied (see page 12 of the Guide for an explanation of the formal access arrangements).
RESEARCH PAPERS, SINGLE NUMBER SERIES, 1988–91
This set of the formal Research Papers was produced and formally released by the Commission. The Research Papers mainly cover statistical analysis of the Aboriginal population and various analyses of custody and deaths in and out of custody. Public access to the records: These records are publicly available.
Series: A8617
Quantity: 0.18 metres in Canberra
The Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander population A8617, 2/4
Self-inflicted harm in custody A8617, 2/16
Overview of the research program and abstracts of research papers A8617, 2/22
MISCELLANEOUS LITERATURE RECORDS, ALPHANUMERIC SERIES, 'L' PREFIX, 1988–90
This series was known as 'literature records' because it consisted of material located in other publications and was not commissioned by the Underlying Issues Unit of the Commission. The range and type of material, however, is similar to material investigated or commissioned by the Underlying Issues Unit, covering such issues as land rights, police and detention powers and violence in the community.
Series: D4112
Quantity: 3.24 metres in Adelaide
South Australian: L007 – Dr Joseph Reser 'Australian Aboriginal Suicide Deaths in Custody: Cultural Context and Cluster Evidence' 1987 to 1987, 1988 D4112, 7
South Australian: L00163 – Northern Land Council 'Research for Sustainable Use of Aboriginal Land' D4112, 159
South Australian: L00242 – Mugford, E 'Alcohol in Australian Society : Psychological, Economic and Historical Perspective' D4112, 235
Public access to the records: Many documents in this series were published documents collected by the Commission's researchers - these are publicly available. Other documents will need assessment subject to the formal access arrangements (see page 12 of the Guide for an explanation of the formal access arrangements).
SOUTH AUSTRALIAN LIBRARY RESEARCH MATERIAL, SINGLE NUMBER SERIES, 1988–90
This collection includes books, articles, statements, reports and copies of material related to the work of the Commission. The material was kept in the Commission's South Australian library.
Series: D4151
Quantity: 10.44 metres in Adelaide), 5.58 metres in Perth
Folder 2 – Photocopied Acts including Aborigines Protection Act 1909, Native Mission Stations, Aboriginal Land Rights etc D4151, 2
Submission by the Australian Medical Association to the Royal Commission of Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders in Custody, May 1990 (COM/22 Other Regional Material) D4151, 250
Research and investigation staff records (Broome): working papers of Patrick Sullivan including: database information, information memos, WA database printouts and keywords, crime statistics, faxes 1989/1990 D4151, 313
Public access to the records: Many documents in this series were published documents collected by the Commission's researchers - these are publicly available. Other documents will need assessment subject to the formal access arrangements (see page 12 of the Guide for an explanation of the formal access arrangements).
RESOURCE INFORMATION DATABASE INFORMATION SHEETS, SINGLE NUMBER SERIES, 1988–90
This is a hard copy printout of information available on the Commission's database of research material and publications grouped by subject. The subject headings run from Aboriginality to Youth, with an initial group of 'Miscellaneous'. Major subject headings include Aboriginal, Education and Health. Information noted on the material held includes author, title, abstract, location, source, keywords, date written, identifier number and number of pages.
Series: D4152
Quantity: 1.62 metres in Adelaide, 7.38 metres in Perth
Miscellaneous papers including Alcohol; Dry Area Legislation; Liquor Commission; Health; Criminal Justice; Prison; Arrest; First Aid; Violence; Culture; Racism; Employment; Burns Evidence (pp. 1227–1268) D4152, 1
Criminology – High Court ruling on the Aboriginal Heritage Act, Western Australia 24 February 1989 D4152, 159
(Broome) – Law – State of Queensland v. L F Wyvill QC – 1989 D4152, 738
Public access to the records: These records are publicly available.

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