re: Aboriginal suicide studies

Harry Oxley (
Mon, 23 Oct 1995 09:41:19 +1000

Dear folks
Although 'down under' this is not my field; and I especially hate
to get myself into trouble by saying something that not only must certainly
be politically incorrect but may also be wrong. Nevertheless, a couple of
my colleagues themselves otherwise PC sought to draw to my attention some
studies they said were fairly recently done by our Institute of
Criminology, by a David Biles now retired, that argued Aboriginal
prisoners were not much more likely (if more likely at all) to suicide in
custody than white prisoners; just that Aboriginals were more likely to be
in prison to do it. I repeat I haven't read the stuff myself, having
little enough time left over from teaching duties to pursue my own limited
intellectual interests without hoping to be a polymath. But I imagine that
anybody going into the issue should check on it. Not much point in finding
the difference that makes the difference if indeed the original difference
isn't there.
Harry Oxley
Harry Oxley