More than 5% of Greece’s prison population are women

Greek prison

Greek prison

Greece has just under 100 prisoners per 100,000 inhabitants with women representing just over 5% of the prison population which is the EU average, according to the latest data published by Eurostat.

Meanwhile, on average across the EU, 19 out of 20 prisoners are men. According to the data, between 2008 and 2017, around 5 % of adult prisoners in the EU were women. The share of female adult prisoners varies between the EU Member States.

In 2017, the highest shares were observed in Slovenia (7.9 %), Latvia (7.8 %), Finland (7.6 %), Spain (7.5 %), Hungary and Czechia (both 7.4 %) and Slovakia (7.2 %), and the lowest in Bulgaria (3.1 %), France (3.5 %), Ireland (3.7 %), Croatia (3.8 %), Northern Ireland (UK) and Poland (both 3.9 %).


There were in all 589 000 prisoners in the EU in 2017, which is 9 % less than in 2012, when there were around 648 000 – the highest total number of prisoners since the beginning of the series (in 1993).

From 1993 to 2005, the number of prisoners in the EU rose by 24.3 % to 621 000 in 2005. In that same period, the population of the EU grew by just 3.1 %. This resulted in the prisoner rate (the number of prisoners per 100 000 people) increasing from 104 to 126. A net increase in the number of prisoners is mainly due to more new prison sentences than the number of releases.


One of the major causes of this increase in prisoners was the rise in serious crimes across Europe. After a temporary fall between 2005 and 2006, there was another rise in the prisoner rate, and in 2011 there were 129 prisoners per 100 000 people in the EU, the highest rate during the period 1993-2017. After an increase in serious crimes followed by more convictions with longer sentences, the number of prisoners may increase and then remain on a higher level a while after the crime rate drops.



GCT Team

This article was researched and written by a GCT team member.