Portugal is the European country with the highest average length of prison sentences


Share post:

Portugal is the European country with the highest average length of prison sentences, with 30.6 months in 2021, more than double the European average of 11.2 months, according to a report released today.

According to SPACE I, the annual report on penal statistics of the Council of Europe – the European organization for the defense of human rights, democracy and the rule of law – Portugal stands out among 46 countries analyzed as the one where the average length of prison sentences served by prisoners is the highest, ahead of Ukraine (27.9 months) and Moldova (27.7 months). At the other extreme is Cyprus, with an average length of 1.3 months.

On the other hand, almost a fifth of the prison population in Portugal (19%) was not serving a prison sentence as of January 2022, i.e. they were either in detention or in pre-trial detention.

Portugal is among the European countries with the lowest percentages of un-convicted prisoners, the European average being 29%, highly inflated by cases such as Monaco, with 64% of un-convicted prisoners, or Liechtenstein, with 100% of the prison population in this situation.

In January 2022, Portugal had a prison population of 114 prisoners per 100,000 inhabitants, slightly below the European average of 117 prisoners per 100,000 inhabitants, but it was the fourth European country with the highest percentage of prisoners aged 50 or over, almost a quarter of the prison population within this criterion (24%), only behind Spain (25%), Italy (28%) and Liechtenstein (33%).

Among the criteria for an aging prison population, Portugal also stands out among those with a higher percentage of inmates aged 65 or over (4.1%), being eighth among those with older prisoners, in a list that is not a decalogue or direct consequence of the previous criterion, since, it is admitted in the report, the 6.6% percentage of inmates aged 65 or over recorded by Serbia may be related to the high number of convicted war criminals.

The European average for the percentage of inmates aged 50 and over is 17% and the median is 16%, with the average for inmates aged 65 and over at 3.1%.

Women represented 7% of the Portuguese prison population in January 2022, above the 5.4% European average. On the same date, foreigners were 14% of inmates in Portugal, below the European average of 25%. In this indicator, the principality of Monaco stands out with 93% of foreign inmates.

The population density in prisons in January 2022 in Portugal was 91 prisoners per 100 places, indicating that the country is not in a situation of prison overcrowding. The data also reveal that for each prison employee there were 1.7 prisoners on the same date, above the European average of 1.6.

Throughout 2021, during the covid-19 pandemic, Portugal recorded the lowest rate of new admissions to the prison system in Europe, with 45 new inmates per 100,000 inhabitants, but also recorded the second lowest rate of releases, with 42 exits per 100,000 inhabitants.

During the pandemic, Portugal adopted an exceptional regime of sentence forgiveness for crimes with sentences below two years and excluding serious crimes and of authorizations for administrative exits under the control of the authorities as a way to control the evolution of the pandemic inside the prisons.

Also according to the Council of Europe report, in January 2022, Portugal had a percentage of 18% of prisoners serving sentences for drug-related crimes, close to the 19% European average of convictions for crimes of this nature.

In a comparison with 2005 data, in 2022 Portugal would have 6.6% fewer prisoners, placing it among the group of European countries with a positive variation in this indicator.

Related articles

Deaths and serious injuries increased in the 1st quarter of the year

Almost 8,000 accidents, which caused 103 deaths and 513 serious injuries, were recorded in the first three months...

Paris2024: Medal favorite label doesn’t bother world champion Iúri Leitão

The label of 'favorite' attached to Portuguese cyclist Iúri Leitão, the omnium world champion, doesn't bother the 'ace'...

Military patrols Santa Luzia mountain range to prevent fires

Army soldiers from the Póvoa do Varzim Services School will monitor the Serra de Santa Luzia, in Viana...

Work on the GNR school in Portalegre awaits approval from the Court of Auditors

The Secretary of State for Internal Administration announced today that the project for the new GNR training center...