International Comparisons of Prison Statistics: Key Facts and Figures of the SPACE 2014 Report and Trends from 2005 to 2014
Abstract: This paper provides an overview of the extent of imprisonment in Europe in 2014. It also studies its evolution from 2005 to 2014 as well as the possible causes of the trends observed. Data are taken from the Council of Europe Annual Penal Statistics. The results showed that the average European prison population rate increased from 2005 to 2011, and started decreasing after that. That decrease is partially explained by the downward trend showed by the average rate of entries into
... f entries into penal institutions after 2009 and the stabilization of the length of imprisonment after 2011. It is also related to a change in the composition of European prison populations. In particular, the percentage of prisoners sentenced for theft has decreased, while the percentages of prisoners sentenced for violent offences and for drug offences have increased. Furthermore, the decreases in the stock and the flow of entries of prisoners led to a decline of the average European prison density and, consequently, of overcrowding. The results are discussed in the light of recent research on the relationship between crime trends and imprisonment trends, as well as on the influence of community sanctions and measures on the latter.