Deaths in prisons

Every death in prison is investigated by the coroner as well as an inspector of Corrections. Depending on the circumstances the Police, the Department of Labour or the prison may also carry out an investigation.

Deaths are reported in two categories:

  • Unnatural deaths - found by the coroner to be caused by homicide, suicide, accidental cause or a drug overdose, or where there is sufficient evidence to suggest to Corrections that these are the most likely cause of death.  Note that coronial inquests typically take a minimum of 12 months to complete.
  • Natural deaths – where a prisoner has died of natural causes..

Number of deaths per year

Line graph showing number of deaths per year

Deaths per year shown in rate per 100

Line graph showing deaths per year shown in rate per 100

Data set for deaths in prison- national and by prison

Download data on deaths in prisons: