With 69 prisoners per 100,000 inhabitants, Cyprus is ranks sixth among EU countries with the lowest number of prisoners, according to a Eurostat report published on Friday.

In 2017 the EU there were on average 116 prisoners per 100,000 people, the lowest rate since 2000. On average in the EU, 5 per cent of prisoners were women.

Among the member states, the highest rate was observed in Lithuania (232 prisoners per 100,000), followed by Czechia (209), Estonia (207), Poland (196) and Latvia (193).

The lowest was recorded in Denmark (59), Sweden (57) and Finland (56). Cyprus is ranked in sixth place after the Netherlands which had 63 per 100,000, and above Croatia which had 75.

Despite the relatively low number of prisoners in Cyprus, the House human rights committee discussed the overcrowding at the central prison in Nicosia in November 2019.

The committee expressed concern about the problems faced by the facility’s administration at the time.

According to data presented at the meeting, the prison has over 200 prisoners above capacity. There are a total of 762 people in jail while the maximum capacity is 540.

It was suggested that people with negligible fines should not be imprisoned and a large backlog of applications for parole needed to be addressed.

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