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Georgian and Azerbaijan are amongst the top four countries in Europe with the highest incarceration rates, according to a new survey of prison statistics in 2015 conducted by the University of Lausanne for the Council of Europe.
According to the survey, Azerbaijan stands thirds in the adjusted rate of prison populations, with 249 inmates per 100,000 inhabitants, and Georgia is number four, with 235.
Armenia came in at number 22 on the list, with only 130 inmates per 100,000 inhabitants.
The countries with the highest incarceration rates were Russia (439) and Lithuania (278). The average rate for the whole report is roughly 131 inmates per 100,000 inhabitants (adjusted rate).
The main offenses prisoners in Georgia and Azerbaijan were sentenced to was drug offences — for Georgia, approximately 31% (2,700 cases), and in Azerbaijan, 28% (5,600 cases). This means that roughly every third person in jail in Georgia and Azerbaijan was detained for a drug offence.
The same statistics were not available from Armenia. In Russia, the main offence was homicide (29%). The second most common offence in Georgia and Azerbaijan was theft, while in Russia it was drug offenses.
The report also states that Georgia spends the least money per prisoner — €6 per day. It is also noted that the incarceration rate grew most in Georgia over the last year (by 21%). Azerbaijan saw an almost 5% increase. However, the incarceration rate decreased in Armenia by almost 2%, and in Russia by 6%.
The survey contains information from 45 out of 52 prison administrations in the Council of Europe’s member states. The list includes 46 countries. According to the report, the number of prisoners in Europe in 2015 declined by almost 7% compared with 2014.