News Local Cyprus: shortest average length of imprisonment in Europe (statistics)

Cyprus: shortest average length of imprisonment in Europe (statistics)

The average length of imprisonment in Cyprus in 2017 was 1.2 months, by far shorter than the Europe average of 8.2 months and the shortest among 45 European countries, a report released on Tuesday by the Council of Europe shows.

The Annual Penal Statistics for 2018 report collected data submitted by prison administrations of 45 Council of Europe Council members.


According to the report, in 2017 there were 1,726 admissions into penal institutions in Cyprus and 4,676 admissions into police stations.

Sentenced Inmates

The total number of sentenced inmates in Cyprus in 2017 was 643.

The countries with the highest number of inmates were Russia (602,176), the UK (93,266) and Poland (73,822).

San Marino was the country with the lowest number of admissions, as only nine people were admitted into penal institutions in the country in 2017.

Imprisonment rate

According to the report, overall imprisonment rate in Europe fell by 6.6% between 2016 and 2018 – from 109.7 to 102.5 inmates per 100,000 inhabitants.

Cyprus was among the countries where the incarceration rate decreased the most with a 5.5% drop between 2016 and 2018.

Foreign Inmates

Cyprus had a disproportionate to its population amount of foreign inmates, the report found.

In 2017, 39.7% of the total inmates in Cypriot penal institutions were foreign. The EU average was 24.9%. Of the foreign inmates in Cyprus 42.4% were nationals of another EU state. 56.9% were Cypriot nationals.

According to a Eurostat report, the percentage of non-nationals in the Cypriot population in 2018 was 17.26%.


In 2017, the state spent €77.4 per day for each sentenced and non-sentenced inmate the report shows. The total budget spent by the Cypriot prison administration in 2017 was €17.690 million.

The countries that spent the most in penal institutions were Russia (€3.946 billion), Italy (€2.741 billion) and France (€2,719 billion). Authorities in England and Wales did not report their penal expenses.

Drug offences

Cyprus had the fourth highest percentage (29%) among the 45 member states for people admitted into penal institutions for drug offences. The European average was 16%.

Escapes, deaths

According to the report in 2017, two people died in Cypriot prisons of natural causes and one escaped. There were no homicides or suicides in Cypriot prisons in 2017.

The countries which had a lower number of prison casualties than Cyprus were Iceland (0), Andorra (1), Liechtenstein (0)and San Marino (0).

The Council of Europe member state with the highest number of prison deaths was Russia, where 3,071 inmates died (307 homicides) in 2017, followed by England and Wales (295 deaths – 70 homicides) and Germany (163 deaths – 76 homicides).

The highest number of escapes from closed prison institutions was in France (21), Italy (18) and Poland (14). Despite having the highest number of inmates (602, 176) Russia reported only two escapes, one more than Cyprus.


In 2017, 1,225 inmates were released from Cypriot penal institutions.

Of these, 492 were not serving a final sentence (40.2%). Of those who did serve a final sentence, 253 were released unconditionally (completed their sentence) and 458 were released on conditions. Also, 23 inmates were transferred to other states.

Prison density

Prison density in Cyprus was 95 inmates per 100 spaces in 2017, which was below the European average (87.6).

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