Research Outline

European Prisons


To have prison data (including prison and prisoner numbers and how these have evolved and are proyected to evolve, a list of private operators, and stats on re-socialization and training) for each of the key European countries.

Early Findings

List: Key European Countries

  • Going by political and economic influence and size, we're suggesting the main European countries, for the purpose of this research are: the UK or England, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Russia, Germany, Ukraine, and Poland. For further research, we could also consider Romania, the Neverlands, Belgium, Greece, Turkey, Sweden, and Hungary.

Prisons in Europe

  • The countries with the highest prisoner rate per 100,000 people are Turkey, Lithuania, Czech Republic, and Estonia. The countries with the lowest rate are Iceland, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands, and Slovenia.

Spain: Prison and Prisoner Numbers

  • The prison population of Spain as of April this year, is 57,680. That's an incarceration rate of 133 people per 100,000. The prison capacity is 74,071, and this includes Catalonia.
  • The number of prisoners in Spain increased steadily between 2000 and 2010, then it began to decrease again. In 2000, it was 45,309, in 2010, it was 76,701. Between 2000 and 2018, overall, the incarceration rate increased by 7%, going from 113 to 128.
  • There are 82 prison-type establishments. Of these, 69 are central prisons, and 13 are social integration centres.
  • In 2010, Spain had more prisons, at 87.
  • There was no publicly available analyses or data on how these figures are expected to evolve.

Spain: Private Prison Operators

  • While there are no privately run prisons in Spain, some prisoners do work for private companies. The companies include laundry companies, companies that need garlic peeled, lighting, and ball manufacturers. Some of the 120 companies that employ prisoners include Teknia, Top Candy, Prendas Industriales Juanju, Novadelta Comercio de Cafés, Alces, Cables y Contratas, and more. There is even a coffin manufacturing company, Sumfumer SL.
  • External security in Spain, should, by law, be conducted by state security forces. However, there are 11 prisons which have outsourced their external security to private companies. Privatization of external security began in 2015.
  • Companies that are involved in security have come and gone, as the government has struggled to get bidders for contracts. Ombuds Compañía de Seguridad SA was involved, until recently, when it was dissolved after being absorbed by debt.
  • The ministry of internal affairs is the authority in charge of all prisons, except for those in Catalonia. The General Secretariat for Penitentiary Institutions overseas all prisons, bar those in Catalonia.
  • Private company, Telefonica, has a monopoly on phone cards for use in the prisons.

Spain: Re-socialization

  • Some 26% of women in prison participate in some kind of regulated education program (such as literacy, secondary education).
  • 46.7% of prisoners in Spain return to prison after being released.
  • 73.3% of youth in prison (people aged 18 to 25) receive some kind of education.

Spain: Other Data

  • Just 7.4% of Spain's prison population is female.
  • The occupancy rate is 77.9%