- Resources for Journalists
- Join us
The prison population fell in almost all European countries last year. Many detainees were released to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and meanwhile the crime rate also declined. The largest drop in prison numbers was in Turkey. However, in certain countries the incarcerated population increased.
Lithuania is the EU country with the highest rate of inmates in relation to the population, but prison overcrowding is the highest in Hungary.
Set up by the WHO, the European database on health in prisons (HIPED) includes data on prison mortality, disease screening, and the prevention and treatment of diseases.
Since the turn of the century, the Old Continent stands out as the only macro-region experiencing declining numbers in its prison population. However, positive developments in Russia are key in explaining the trend. The EU benefits from the positive dynamics in Eastern and Central Europe. Recent data for Italy are worrisome.
The suicide rate in Balkan prisons is low compared to the rest of Europe, in part because of the different composition of the prison population.