Latvia has EU's highest proportion of female prisoners

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There was one prisoner per 965 persons in the EU in 2020, or 104 prisoners per 100 000 of population. The prisoner rate had a sharp decline compared to the previous year, probably due to COVID-19 measures, and was in 2020 at its lowest level since the turn of the century, according to Eurostat figures published June 13.

The highest prisoner rates per 100 000 in the EU in 2020 were in Slovakia (192.7), Lithuania (190.4), Czechia (180.3), Poland (180.1), Estonia (178.0) and Hungary (171.2). Latvia was just behind on 162.7 prisoners per 100,000 population.

Prisoners per 100,000 population, 2020
Prisoners per 100,000 population, 2020

The lowest rates were in Finland (49.8), the Netherlands (63.3), Slovenia (69.1), Sweden (70.7), Denmark (71.5) and Germany (71.6). In 17 out of 26 countries that provided the data, there was a decrease compared to 2019. 

However, Latvia has the highest share of female prisoners in custody among all EU member states. In 2020, the highest shares were observed in Latvia (8.3 %), Czechia and Finland (both 8.1 %), Hungary (7.8 %), Slovakia (7.6 %) and Spain (7.3 %). The lowest shares were in Bulgaria (3.1 %), France (3.3 %), Estonia (4.1 %) and Italy (4.2 %). In 2020, the share of women among adult prisoners decreased in 15 out of 24 countries that provided data for both years.

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