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Prison Population in Switzerland Has Risen 50 Per Cent in Last 30 years


The rise of the Swiss prison population has caused Switzerland’s prisons to become a little crowded.

The number of prisoners has increased by more than 50 per cent since the late 1980s, according to data released on the 5th of February by Switzerland’s Federal Statistics Office.

This timeline roughly correlates with the start of mass non-white immigration into Europe and North America, which had began in the 1960s and 1970s respectively.

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The Swiss prison population has risen sharply in the last three decades from 4,621 in 1988 to 6,907 in 2017. This means 82 people in prison for each 100,000, compared with 70 in 1988. 

Prisons have become much larger in the last 30 years. In 1988, only 9 per cent of incarceration centres could hold more than 100 inmates. Today though, a quarter of all prisons can hold more than 100 inmates

Further reading: The Sinister Side of Switzerland

The number of foreign nationals imprisoned in Switzerland has risen sharply in the last 30 years, as well. 

Swiss nationals represent 24 per cent of all prisoners, a sharp decline in the last 30 years. Foreigners resident in Switzerland make up 31 per cent of the total prison population. The majority, 45 per cent, are foreigners who are not resident in Switzerland.

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