Turkey, Russia lead Europe’s incarceration rates

Eastern European countries tend to have more prisoners than the rest of the continent, with Turkey having the highest incarceration rate among Council of Europe member states, according to a study from the international body.

According to the Council of Europe’s Annual Penal Statistics (SPACE I) Turkey has an incarceration rate of 357.2 inmates per 100,000 inhabitants, closely followed by Russia (356.1). Georgia is third with a rate of 263.8. Lithuania, Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Estonia are the top incarcerators among EU member countries.

Nordic countries are on the opposite end of the ranking. Excluding micro-states like Monaco or San Marino, Iceland has the lowest incarceration rate in the continent (45 inmates per 100,000 inhabitants). Similarly low rates are found in Finland and Norway. Netherlands and Germany also have comparatively low incarceration rate, with respectively 58.5 and 76.2 inmates per 100,000 inhabitants.

Western European countries are closer to the European median rate of 103.2 inmates per 100,000 inhabitants. France has 105.3 inmates per 100,000, Belgium 93.6, Italy 101.2, Spain 123.3 and Portugal 124.3.

The overall European prison population rate is of 103.2 inmates per 100,000 inhabitants, continuing the pattern of declining numbers since the continent’s prison population rate peaked in 2013.

The most common reason to be in a European prison is due to a drug-related offense, followed by theft and homicide (including attempts). Four out of ten European inmates are violent offenders. There are 30,524 prisoners convicted for terrorism offenses in the continent, a vast majority of them found in Turkey (29,827), followed by France and Spain.

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POLITICO