Council of Europe: Prison statistics for 2016: increases in prison population rate and average length of imprisonment

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Prison statistics for 2016: increases in prison population rate and average length of imprisonment
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The Council of Europe's recently-published annual prison statistics reports cover the year 2016 and show an increase from 2015 in the prison population rate (the number of prisoners per 100,000 of a country's population), the average length of imprisonment, the number of entries into penal institutions and the proportion of prisoners serving sentences for theft.

There were decreases between 2015 and 2016 in overcrowding, in the amount spent per day per prisoner, in the number of releases from penal institutions and in the proportion of prisoners serving sentences for drug offences.

Council of Europe: European prisons are almost full, according to latest Council of Europe survey (press release, pdf):

"European prisons are on average close to full capacity, with inmates occupying over 9 out of ten available places, according to the Council of Europe Annual Penal Statistics (SPACE) for 2016, published today.

The survey shows that the incarceration rate grew from 115.7 to 117.1 inmates per 100,000 inhabitants from 2015 to 2016. This rate had previously fallen every year since 2012, when it reached 125.6 prisoners per 100,000 inhabitants.

The incarceration rate is mainly influenced by the length of the sanctions and measures imposed. In that perspective, the average length of detention, which can be seen as an indicator of the way criminal law is applied, increasing slightly to 8.5 months.

The countries where the incarceration rate grew the most were Bulgaria (+10.8%), Turkey (+9.5%), the Czech Republic (+7.6%), Serbia (+6.6%) and Denmark (+5.5%). The prison administrations where it fell the most were Iceland (-15.9%), Northern Ireland (-11.8), Lithuania (-11.1%), Belgium (-10.1%) and Georgia (-6.7%).

On the other hand, overcrowding remained a serious problem in many countries. Thirteen out of 47 prison administrations reported having more inmates than places to host them."

See the reports: Council of Europe: Annual Penal Statistics:

A useful summary of the reports: Council of Europe releases new prison statistics (The Parliament, link):

"Central and Eastern European countries have the highest prison population in Europe, according to a new report by the Council of Europe.

These include Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic.

Among Western European countries, England and Wales have the highest prison population rates. They are closely followed by Scotland, Portugal and Spain.


Among the 85,134 inmates held in England and Wales, there were 1497 foreigners held for what it calls “administrative reasons”, of whom 822 are held in centres especially designed for that type of detention.

Some 15,479 inmates (out of the 85,134) were held in private facilities. Only England, Wales, Scotland, Germany and Finland use private detention facilities. However, Finland only has 11 people in such facilities, said the report."

And see: reports from 2017: Prison statistics for 2015: overcrowding still a problem (Statewatch News Online, 11 April 2017)

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