Scotland’s prison population rate remains above European average
Scotland has the highest prison population rate in the UK and one of the highest in Europe, a new report shows.
The 47-nation Council of Europe has today published its Annual Penal Statistics for 2021, compiled by the University of Lausanne.
In January 2021, the prison population rate per 100,000 inhabitants was 134.9 in Scotland, 131.5 in England & Wales and 73.8 in Northern Ireland; this compares to a Europe-wide average of 116.1 and median of 101.8.
The countries with the largest total number of inmates were Russia (478,714), Turkey (272,115), the United Kingdom (87,035), Poland (67,894), France (62,673), Germany (59,045), Spain (55,110), Italy (53,329) and Ukraine (49,520).
Between January 2020 and January 2021, incarceration rates fell significantly in 30 out of 48 prison administrations across Europe; incarceration rates fell by 10.9 per cent in Northern Ireland, 8.0 per cent in Scotland and 4.9 per cent in England & Wales over that period.
In the 10 years between 2011 and 2021, incarceration rates fell by 31.6 per cent in Northern Ireland, 23.4 per cent in England & Wales and 13.8 per cent in Scotland.
The countries reporting the lowest age of criminal responsibility were England & Wales, Northern Ireland and Switzerland (all 10 years), followed by the Scotland, Andorra, Ireland, the Netherlands and Turkey (12 years).
On 31 January 2021, not including countries with less than 300,000 inhabitants, the prison administrations with the highest percentage of pre-trial detainees were Albania (50 per cent), Armenia (47 per cent), Switzerland (46 per cent), the Netherlands (45 per cent), Luxembourg (43 per cent), Montenegro (42 per cent), Denmark (41 per cent), Northern Ireland (40 per cent), Belgium (38 per cent), Croatia (36 per cent), Ukraine (36 per cent), Slovenia (33 per cent) and Italy (32 per cent).
In England & Wales, 6,985 out of a total of 67,352 sentenced prisoners were serving life imprisonment in January 2021; this compares to 483 inmates serving life imprisonment in France, 1,782 in Germany and 1,783 in Italy.
19.2 per cent of prisoners in Northern Ireland were sentenced to life imprisonment in January 2021, the highest proportion across Europe; this compares to 18.1 per cent of prisoners in Scotland, 10.4 per cent in England & Wales and a Europe-wide average of 3.3 per cent and median of 1.7 per cent.
The average amount spent per inmate per day during 2020 was €205.51 in Northern Ireland, €147.06 in England & Wales and €125.00 in Scotland; this compares to a Europe-wide average of €186.7 and median of €77.