Cypriot prisons record the third highest levels of overcrowding among the 47 member states of the Council of Europe, housing 127 inmates for every 100 available places.
According to the Council of Europe Annual Penal Statistics (SPACE) for 2016, Cyprus had 668 inmates, while total prison capacity could not exceed 528. There are 78.7 prisoners for every 100,000 inhabitants.
The majority of cases are drug offences which make up 26.8 per cent, followed by theft at 19 per cent, homicide at 11 per cent and robbery at just under seven per cent.
A total of 41.5 per cent were foreign inmates while the median age of inmates held in the Nicosia central prison is 37.
According to a CoE announcement, the incarceration rate across Europe grew from 115.7 to 117.1 inmates per 100,000 inhabitants from 2015 to 2016. European prisons are on average close to full capacity, with inmates occupying over nine out of 10 available places.
Bulgaria, Turkey, the Czech Republic, Serbia and Denmark saw the incarceration rate growing the most with 10.8 per cent, 9.5 per cent, 7.6 per cent, 6.6 per cent and 5.5 per cent respectively.
The numbers fell the most in Iceland, by 15.9 per cent, Northern Ireland by 11.8 per cent, Lithuania by 11.1 per cent, Belgium 10.1 per cent and Georgia with 6.7 per cent.
The highest levels of overcrowding were observed in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (132 prisoners per 100 places available), Hungary (132), Cyprus (127), Belgium (120), France (117), Portugal (109), Italy (109), Serbia (109), Albania (108), the Czech Republic (108), Romania (106) and Turkey (103).