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Report highlights prison overcrowding

The central prison in Nicosia

Cyprus registered the fourth highest prison population density in Europe in 2020, new research has shown.

According to the Council of Europe’s Annual Penal Statistics on Prison Populations for 2020, made public on Thursday, Cyprus has 116 inmates for every 100 available prison places.

Prison density refers to the number of people in a defined area of the prison, like the whole facility, wing, dormitory or cell.

On average in Europe there were 90.3 inmates for every 100 available places in prisons during 2020, compared to the 89.5 inmates per 100 places in 2019.

Cyprus’ prison overcrowding ranked fourth in the continent after Turkey, with 127 inmates per 100 available places, Italy with 120, and Belgium with 117.

Moreover, the percentage of pre-trial detainees in Cypriot prisons stood at 30.8 per cent, a figure much higher compared to the rest of Europe, where it was estimated at around 22 per cent.

The percentage of people imprisoned in the island for drug-related offences, around 27 per cent, was also slightly higher than the rest of Europe, where the figure was estimated at an average 18 per cent, translating into one every five inmates.


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