Investigation of Deaths in Custody 41 Legal Framework

In the United Kingdom, all deaths occurring in prison (or youth custody) (4) must be referred to the coroner who holds jurisdiction for that area. However, no such obligation exists concerning deaths in police custody, although the Home Office recommends (5) that all deaths falling into the widest defini-

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Fig. 1. Deaths in police custody in England and Wales.

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Fig. 1. Deaths in police custody in England and Wales.

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Fig. 2. Deaths in police custody in Australia.

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Fig. 2. Deaths in police custody in Australia.

tion of "in custody" should be subject to a coroner's inquest, and, hence, a full inquiry into the facts and a full postmortem examination should be performed. This acceptance that all deaths occurring in custody should be fully investigated and considered by the legal system must represent the ideal situation; however, not every country will follow this, and some local variations can and do occur, particularly in the United States.

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