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Tight quarters


Prisons are more crowded than ever




With 7,072 adults locked up, Swiss prisons and detention centres are bursting. The official capacity of Switzerland’s prisons is 7,048.

The Federal Statistical Office did a spot check on September 4, 2013. As the office announced on Monday, 51% of inmates were convicts subject to custodial sentences and measures. Another 30% were in pre-trial detention, while another 141 people were being held in custody.

The number of convicts went up by 35% between 1999 and 2013, with 3,667 convicts being a new record. The main reasons were an increase in the number of prison sentences, more sentences in lieu of unpaid fines and a number of people starting their sentences earlier than expected.

Of 2,104 people being held in remand, more than half were foreigners without a residence permit. Some 20% were foreigners with a permit, 18% were Swiss, and 8% were asylum seekers. In 2012, two-thirds of the people in custody were there for one or two days; 21% stayed for three to 91 days, while 11% were held for more than three months.

Since 2011, the number of detained minors has fallen by about 25%. On the day of the spot check in 2013, there were 575 minors being held either in prison or in youth detention centres. Of these, 91% were male and 9% were female.

Most – 61% – were Swiss; 32% were foreigners living in Switzerland, while the other 7% were either asylum seekers or foreigners who normally live abroad.

swissinfo.ch and agencies



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