WHICH EUROPEAN COUNTRY LOCKS THE MOST WOMEN IN PRISON?

Russia imprisons the most men in Europe, but which country jails the most women? And how does Britain compare with its peers?

Source: Flckr

Source: Flickr

 

Let’s begin by looking at the percentage of women in prison in greater Europe, but first one important caveat.

It is impossible to obtain up-to-date, consistent data for all European countries. So we found the latest and best available data from the International Centre for Prison Studies.

 

WOMEN IN PRISON IN SELECTED EUROPEAN COUNTRIES

(% of total prison population)

Source: International Centre for Prison Studies

Source: International Centre for Prison Studies

 

Russia once again comes out on top, but not by nearly as much as it did when measuring the male populations in this earlier post. Technically, Monaco and Andorra have higher proportions of female inmates, but we removed them due to their miniscule sizes.

Interestingly, Scotland incarcerates a greater percentage of women than England, Wales and Northern Ireland (and Romania for that matter).

Finland is surprisingly high up the table for a Scandinavian country and Spain also has a penchant for locking up the ladies. The oft-derided Azerbaijan comes in last place.

 

AND NOW JUST WESTERN EUROPE…

It is unfair to compare the UK with less developed European countries, so let’s compare it with its western European peers and see how it stacks up.

 

WOMEN IN WESTERN EUROPEAN PRISONS 

(% of total prison population)

Source: International Centre for Prison Studies

Source: International Centre for Prison Studies

 

Spain and Finland have the highest percentage of female prisoners in western Europe.

England, Scotland and Wales rank below the usually more socially progressive Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands.

And for once Northern Ireland comes below its neighbour to the south!

 

FEMALE PRISONERS IN ENGLAND AND WALES

Between 1995 and 2010 there was an over 80 per cent increase in the number of female prisoners in England & Wales.

Despite a slight fall in self-harm amongst female prisoners in the 12 months to March 2014, women still account for a disproportionate amount of the recorded incidents.

 

NUMBER OF SELF-HARM INCIDENTS IN PRISON IN ENGLAND & WALES

 

Women account for less than five per cent of the prison population in England & Wales, but over one-quarter of all self-harm incidents. Twenty-seven per cent of self-harm incidents occur within the first month of arriving in a prison.

Most women entering prison serve very short sentences. In 2013, 60 per cent of women entering prison were serving six months or less. In 1993 only a third of women entering custody were sentenced to six months or less.

We will be posting more facts and stats about women in British prisons soon.

 

TWITTER: @prisonwatchuk 
FACEBOOK: facebook.com/PrisonWatchUK

2 Comments on “WHICH EUROPEAN COUNTRY LOCKS THE MOST WOMEN IN PRISON?”

  1. NM says:

    Hi. Could you explain the percentage figures? Do you mean that X% of the female adult population of each country is in prison? Or that women make up X% of the overall prison population in each country? Many thanks.

    Like

    • Sean Regan says:

      Hi, thanks for reading. We mean the per cent of women as a proportion of the overall prison population. So for example, men make up approximately 95 per cent of the prison population in England & Wales and women account for the remaining 5 per cent. Hope that clears it up. Best, PWUK

      Like


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