Latvia has one of EU's highest proportions of female prisoners

Data published by Eurostat September 1 shows that Latvia has one of the largest proportions of women in its prison population in the EU, coming second only to Malta.

The share of women in prison varies considerably between EU Member States. Between 2017 and 2019, the highest shares on average were observed in Malta (9.8 %), Latvia (8.1 %), Czechia (7.8 %), Spain, Finland (both 7.6 %), Hungary (7.5 %), and Slovakia (7.4 %). The lowest shares were in Bulgaria (3.2 %), France (3.6 %), Denmark and Poland (both 4.1 %) and Italy (4.3 %). Data for Belgium, Germany and Ireland are missing for all three years.

Estonia and Lithuania both have women prisoners accounting for around 5 % of the prison population.

Women in prison stats

There was one prisoner for every 895 people in the EU in 2019, or 112 prisoners per 100 000 people. The value (prisoner rate) is constant compared to the previous year, at its lowest level since the turn of the century.

The highest prisoner rates in the EU (average 2017-2019) were in Lithuania (227.4), Czechia (203.5), Estonia (196.9), Poland (194.8), Slovakia (189.1), Latvia (184.3) and Hungary (174.6). Many of these countries show decreasing values compared to the 2016-2018 average. The lowest rates were in Finland (54.3), Sweden (61.1), Denmark (63.3) and the Netherlands (65.6).

Latvia has one of the lowest numbers of foreigners among its prisoners. Between 2017 and 2019, 1 in 5 prisoners in the EU had a foreign citizenship in the reporting country. The highest shares on average were observed in Luxembourg (74 %), Greece (55 %), Austria (54 %), Malta (45 %), Cyprus (41 %), Estonia (35 %) and Italy (34 %). The lowest shares were in Romania and Poland (both 1 %), Lithuania, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Latvia (2 %) and Hungary (5 %). 

There was one place in prison for every 878 people in the EU in 2019, or 114 places in prison per 100 000 people.

This value varies considerably from one EU country to another. It is higher in eastern countries such as Lithuania (275), Estonia (242), Poland (229), Slovakia and Latvia (both 209) and Czechia (194). Prison places per 100 000 inhabitants are much lower in Finland (53), Cyprus (64), Sweden, Slovenia and Denmark (each 65) and the Netherlands (70).

Expenditure on prisons
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