Prisons in England and Wales have one of the highest suicide rates in Europe alongside the likes of Latvia, Albania and Lithuania, according to a Council of Europe report comparing jails across the continent. Our prisons are also in the ‘very high’ category for prison population rate per 100,000 inhabitants in 2021, scoring more than 25% higher than the European median value alongside the Russian Federation, Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan.
The SPACE I – 2021 report, published this week, ranks 49 different prison administrations across Europe.
In England and Wales there were 132 prisoners per 100,000 total population in 2021 and 135 in Scotland. This compares starkly with Northern European countries such as Sweden (57) and Norway (54) as well as Italy (90) and Germany (71). By contrast, Hungry has 180 prisoners per 100,000, Poland has 179, Azerbaijan 216 and Georgia 232. Russia had the highest prison population: 328 per 100,000 inhabitants. The suicide rate per 100,000 prisoners was nine in England and Wales compared to, for example, five in Germany.
England and Wales scored ‘low’ for both the percentage of female prisoners and foreign prisoners and ‘medium’ for prisoners aged 50 years or over. Our prisons scored ‘high’, up to 25% higher than the European median, for prison density per 100 places – this is the indicator for overcrowding (and so there is overcrowding when there are more than 100 inmates per 100 places available).