Two-thirds of Swiss inmates were foreigners in 2020

The Lenzburg prison in Switzerland. (Wikimedia Commons)
By Dénes Albert
2 Min Read

Last year, two-thirds of inmates in Swiss prisons were foreign nationals, data from the Swiss Federal Statistical Office showed. A similar trend is present in a range of countries across Europe, including neighboring Austria and Italy.

Algerian nationals were by far the most numerous among foreigners in Swiss prisons (470), followed by Romanians 290), French (241), Eritreans (237) and Italians (235).

Prison inmates in Switzerland by nationality in 2020. (Swiss Federal Statistics Office)

In terms of prison sentences per 1,000 residents, Algerians were ten times as likely to be in prison than Swiss nationals, with 3.91 incarcerations versus 0.39 incarcerations. Other nationals with high criminal incidence were Eritreans (1.93), Moroccans (2.63) and Albanians (2.44).

Italy: 32 percent of imprisoned foreigners

Foreign nationals in Italian prisons were also overrepresented with 32 percent. At the end of October 2021, Italin prisons held 54,307 inmates, of which 17,315 were foreigners. In certain prisons, the ratio of foreign nationals was as high as 78 percent.

Italian data also showed that 80 percent of foreign inmates were illegal immigrants. Last year, 67,040 immigrants came to Italy, twice as many as in 2020 (34,154) and six times as many as in 2019 (11,471).

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