Corrective Services NSW

Deaths in custody

Coronial inquests into deaths in custody

All deaths in custody are investigated by the NSW State Coroner. An inquest will take place if the person died while in custody (or temporarily absent from a correctional facility), while escaping or whilst attempting to escape from custody.

The role of the Coroner is to determine the manner and medical cause of death of the deceased. In order to fulfil this role, the Coroner relies on information obtained from pathologists, police personnel, general medical practitioners and specialist physicians. 

More information about Coroner's court:

Management of Deaths in Custody Committee

Corrective Services NSW (CSNSW) has a Committee that oversees reporting and implementation of recommendations relating to deaths in custody. 

The Committee, chaired by the Assistant Commissioner, Governance and Continuous Improvement, meets quarterly and includes senior officers from CSNSW, senior representation from Justice Health and Forensic Mental Health Network, and also extends an invitation to a representative from the NSW State Coroner's Court.

The Committee ensures action is taken in response to internal reports including investigation reports and Coronial findings and recommendations,  and oversees implementation of any recommendations arising. 

The Committee's Terms of Reference

The Terms of Reference (PDF, 205.3 KB)ensure that CSNSW takes a proactive approach to duty of care responsibilities and, in particular, proactively manages contributions to inquiries by the Coroner and responses to Coroner's recommendations.

Policy and Procedures - Aboriginal deaths in custody 

Policy and procedures have been developed that must be followed by the Principal Manager, Aboriginal Strategy & Policy Unit (ASPU) and all Regional Aboriginal Project Officers when there is a death of an Aboriginal inmate in CSNSW custody.

This policy applies to all correctional centres and other facilities administered by or on behalf of CSNSW. The Principal Manager, ASPU is responsible for ensuring this policy is applied.


Corrective Services NSW (CSNSW) is bound by the following legislation and any actions taken in relation to a death in custody must be in accordance with: 

Information for families and friends after a death in custody

CSNSW will assist you after a death in custody. Download our factsheet to find out more. 

  • English (PDF, 212.7 KB) (PDF , 167.5 KB)
  • Arabic (PDF, 150.6 KB) (PDF , 150.5 KB)
  • Chinese (PDF, 168.1 KB) (PDF , 168.0 KB)
  • Persian (PDF, 170.5 KB) (PDF , 170.4 KB)
  • Urdu (PDF, 153.9 KB) (PDF , 153.8 KB)
  • Vietnamese (PDF, 132.7 KB) (PDF , 132.6 KB)

More information 

Click on the link to the Frequently Asked Questions (PDF, 224.0 KB) (PDF , 223.3 KB) document for answers to the following:

  • What is a death in custody?
  • Who conducts an investigation into an individual's death in custody?
  • What is an inquest?

Contact Us - Send in your questions and comments using the General Enquiries (Web Form)

Last updated:

11 May 2023

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We acknowledge Aboriginal people as the First Nations Peoples of NSW and pay our respects to Elders past, present, and future. 

Informed by lessons of the past, Department of Communities and Justice is improving how we work with Aboriginal people and communities. We listen and learn from the knowledge, strength and resilience of Stolen Generations Survivors, Aboriginal Elders and Aboriginal communities.

You can access our apology to the Stolen Generations.

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