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Crime and punishment More females and Swiss serving prison time

Wired: A view from La Promenade prison in La Chaux de Fonds


There’s been a decline in the number of overall offenders serving prison sentences in Switzerland, and an increase in the numbers of female prisoners and those with a Swiss passport. 

Whereas 9,463 people served prison terms in Switzerland in 2014, there were 9,201 last year – a decrease of about 3%, announced the Federal Statistical Officeexternal link on Monday. Most of them (3,548) are between 25 and 34 years old. 

The number of female prisoners increased by nearly 6%, from 734 to 776. There was also a slight increase in the number of Swiss prisoners compared with foreign: up 0.5%, from 2,927 to 2,942. 

Overall in 2015, there were 12,818 people sentenced – either to prison, semi-detention, community service, or electronic monitoring. That’s about 4% fewer than the previous year. 

There were somewhat fewer doing community service (from 3,681 to 3,376), and a few more wearing electronic ankle monitors (from 233 to 241). 

The statistical office also looked into recidivism. Of the 1,500 Swiss released after serving their time in 2010, 45% were sentenced again within three years. Of those, 15% had to return to prison. With a relapse rate of 61%, thieves were especially likely to steal again. And 29% of traffic violators committed new traffic offences.