Irish prison population growth among highest in Europe

Irish prison population growth among highest in Europe

Ireland’s prison population is growing faster than in any other country in western Europe, according to new Council of Europe figures.

Irish prisons were virtually full as of 31 January 2023, with 99.4 prisoners for every 100 places available, according to the 2023 penal statistics published today.

The report – which is compiled by the University of Lausanne – includes data from 48 prison administrations across Europe on issues including total prison populations, imprisonment rates and levels of overcrowding as well as the profile of prison populations (including by age, gender and nationality) and rates of suicide and escape.

The total number of inmates in Ireland on 31 January 2023 was 4,432, of which 20.6 per cent were without a final sentence.

Between 2022 and 2023, the incarceration rate in Ireland increased by 12 per cent. In countries with over 500,000 inhabitants, only Moldova (52 per cent), North Macedonia (26 per cent), Cyprus (25 per cent), Türkiye (15 per cent) and Azerbaijan (13 per cent) recorded higher increases over the same period.

Going back to 2005, it has increased by 10.8 per cent, which compares to an increase of 16.8 per cent in Northern Ireland and decreases of 0.1 per cent in Scotland and 4.6 per cent in England and Wales over the same period.

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