Estonia joins several other Eastern European countries among those with the highest rates of incarceration in Europe, according to a recent report.
As of the end of last year, Estonia's incarceration rate stood at 187 prisoners per 100,000 residents. Lithuania had the highest rate in the EU at 235 prisoners per 100,000 residents, followed by the Czech Republic (199), Poland (197), Latvia (195) and Slovakia (195), it appears from the latest data published by World Prison Brief.
Elsewhere in Europe, the incarceration rate stood at 51 prisoners per 100,000 residents in Finland, 59 in Sweden, 61 in the Netherlands, 78 in Germany, 95 in Belgium, 98 in Austria, and 105 prisoners per 100,000 residents in France.
Nonetheless, the number of prisoners in Estonia has decreased significantly over the years, a Ministry of Justice spokesperson stressed.
"Since 2012, statistics have reflected the number of prisoners together with those in custody in jail," the ministry spokesperson said. "In 2005, the number of prisoners in prisoners totaled 4,410, but if you included those in jail as well, they totaled 5,000. Currently, there are 2,502 prisoners in Estonia. Thus, the overall number prisoners has twice been halved over the past 15 years. The number of prisoners and detainees in prisons and jails decreased by 94 last year as well."
According to World Prison Brief data, 20.1 percent of detainees in Estonia were in pre-trial prison, 4.5 percent of prisoners were women, and minors accounted for 0.6 percent of all prisoners. 35.5 percent of all prisoners were not Estonian citizens.
Estonia has three prisons with an official capacity of 3,357, indicating an occupancy level of 76.6 percent.
Editor: Aili Vahtla