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Home > Council of Europe annual penal statistics: SPACE I – prison populations: survey 2015.

Aebi, Marcelo F and Tiago, Melanie M and Burkhardt, Christine (2016) Council of Europe annual penal statistics: SPACE I – prison populations: survey 2015. Strasbourg: Council of Europe.

PDF (Council of Europe - SPACE I – Prison populations)

Key points of SPACE I 2015
1. The participation rate in the 2015 SPACE I Survey was 87%: 45 out of the 52 Prison Administrations of the 47 Member States of the Council of Europe answered the questionnaire.
2. The median European Prison Population Rate [PPR] was 115.7 inmates per 100 000 inhabitants. There was noted a decrease of almost 7% compared to 2014 (124.0 inmates per 100 000 inhabitants). As median calculated values are less sensitive to the extreme figures (i.e. very low prison population rates in small countries with less than 1mln inhabitants), it is preferable to use these values as a more reliable alternative to the average figures. Therefore, all the figures presented in the Key points section refers to median values (unless indicated)
3. On 1st September 2015, there were 1 404 398 inmates held in penal institutions across Europe (this total does not include figures for Bosnia & Herzegovina Fed. And State, Iceland, Malta, Monaco, Iceland and Ukraine, as they were not available). On the same date in 2014, there were 1 507 278 inmates (for the exactly same prison administrations and, in 2013 there were 1 529 447 inmates. The total number of inmates has been decreasing.
4. On 1st September 2015, European prisons were at the top of their capacity, holding almost 94 inmates per 100 places (average: 91). In particular, 33.3% of the Prison Administrations were experiencing overcrowding. Since 2009, the European prison density remains close to full.
5. The median age of the European prison population was 35 years, which is higher than in 2014, 2013 and 2012, when it was 34.
6. The median proportion of female inmates was 5.2% of the total prison population. Compared to the same indicator in 2014 (5.0%), there is no significant difference. 24% of female inmates were pre-trial detainees, compared to 22% in 2014.
7. The median proportion of foreign inmates was 10.8% of the total prison population. The average value being of 22.6%. Yet, there are very big differences between countries, from 0.9% in Romania to 100% in San Marino. In 2014, the same indicator was 13.3%
8. Length of custodial sentences:
a. The median proportion of sentenced prisoners who were serving sentences shorter than one year was 13.5%, which is lower compared to 2014 (15.2%).
b. The most common category of lengths of sentences was the one lasting from one to less than three years (the median percentage of such inmates was 24.2%).
c. Around 11% of inmates were serving very long sentences of 10 years and over. This proportion remained close to the one of 2014 (12%) and 2013 (11%).
9. Inmates were sentenced mainly for the following types of criminal offences: drug offences (18.7%), theft (16.2%), homicide (13.2%) and robbery (12.6%).
10. The average length of imprisonment in 2014 was in median 7 months, which is the same value as in 2013. The median duration of the pre-trail detention remained the same as in 2013 and 2012 (about 4 months).
11. The median mortality rate in 2014 was 27 deaths per 10 000 inmates, less than in 2013 and 2012 (28 deaths per 10,000 inmates).
12. The median amount spent per day and per inmate in 2014 was 52 Euros. It is 7 more Euros than in 2013 (45 Euros). On the other hand, the average amount is 101 Euros, 2 more Euros than in 2013 (99 Euros). The amounts vary widely across Europe: from almost 6 to more than 480 Euros per day and per inmate. The 44 Prison Administrations that provided data on this item had spent more than 26 billion Euros in 2014 for the penitentiary needs.
13. There were about 3 inmates per one custodian in 2015. This ratio remained the same as in 2014 and 2013.

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