HC Deb 09 February 1993 vol 218 cc530-1W
Ms. Ruddock

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what information he has as to the total prison population in each EC country, including the United Kingdom, and the United States of America in 1979 and 1992 respectively; what proportion that number formed of the total population; and how many of that number were young offenders.

Mr. Peter Lloyd

[holding answer 2 February 1993]: Information for EC countries has been collated by the Council of Europe only since 1983; and the latest available information published by them relates to 1 September 1989. The data requested for these two years can be found in "Prison Information Bulletin" No. 2, table 1; and No. 14, table 2. A copy of both documents are in the Library.

Data on the total prison population in 1979 are given in an article in issue No. 15 of the above publication; and more recent information has been collected independently from some EC countries and from the USA. These data are given in the table.

An article on "International comparisons of prison populations" by Collier and Tarling—Home Office research bulletin No. 23, pages 48 to 54—showed that the figures for different countries are unlikely to be strictly comparable because the definitions of prisons and prisoners vary from one country to another, reflecting different legal and administrative systems. Examples of differences in the definitions are the inclusion or exclusion in a country's figures of juvenile offenders and mentally disordered offenders.

11979 Total prison population Total prison population 21991 Prison population per 100,000 inhabitants Total population of young offenders
Belgium 6,137
Denmark 2,291 3,506 68
France 34,640 48,675 84 6 5,072
Germany3 50,395 49,658 79
Greece 3,221
Ireland 1,140
Italy 26,424
Luxembourg 223
Netherlands 7,233 48 71,185
Portugal 5,054 8,092 82 6625
Spain 10,463
United Kingdom, of which: 52,874 92 610,046
England and Wales 42,220 46,310 91 68,850
United States of America 4500,000 51,118,000 5450
1 Figures at 1 January, except Greece—1 December; Ireland and United Kingdom—annual averages.
2 Figures at 1 September.
3 Former Federal Republic territory only.
4 Approximate estimate based on the available data, which relates to the local jail population in 1978 and the State and Federal prison population in 1980.
5 1990.
6 Age under 21.
7 Age under 23.

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