Russia and Turkey had the highest incarceration rates in 2021 according to the Council of Europe Annual Penal Statistics on Prison Populations report. Their latest figures show that Russia had 328 prisoners per 100,000 inhabitants in 2021, while Turkey followed close behind with 325 out of 100,000. Scotland, England and Wales also had fairly high rates of incarceration, coming out well above the 102 median average of European countries, with 135 and 132, respectively. Liechtenstein and Monaco represented the least incarcerated countries per 100,000 population, with 31 and 33 prisoners, respectively.
According to the Council of Europe, Europe saw its prison population fall between 2020 and 2021. This has been attributed to delays and the slowing down of the judicial systems through the pandemic, as well as the release schemes used in some countries to prevent or reduce the spread of Covid-19. For this reason, the decline is expected to be temporary, with reports already emerging of figures climbing once more.