Twenty years today after the Royal Commission report into Aboriginal deaths in custody was released, fatalities in prison custody are rising and inmates are still dying as a result of the same lethal practices the Commission sought to eliminate.

According to the Australian Institute of Criminology, which is responsible for compiling national statistics on deaths in custody, the number of prison deaths since 2006 has risen nationwide, despite the size of the Australian prison population remaining fairly stable. In the decade to 2008 -- the last year for which verifiable figures are available -- 471 people died in Australian prison custody, an increase of nearly 50% from the decade to 1989, when the Royal Commission was conducting its investigations.