The UK as a whole has the highest prison population per head of population in the whole of Western Europe. However Scotland takes pride of place as the leader in incarcerating its population with the highest per head of population. We're a wee country but we're very good at locking our people up in cages.
Scotland has the highest prison population rate per head in Western Europe, with 150 people held in prison for every 100,000 of the population, according to a new report.
Meanwhile, in England and Wales there were more than 140,000 admissions into prison in 2017—the highest number in western Europe, according to report Prison: the facts, which reveals that, despite the number falling in recent years, England and Wales still have over 40,000 more admissions to prison than Germany, the second-highest—which has a significantly larger national population.
The comparative figures are taken from the latest available Council of Europe Annual Penal Statistics.
The rate of prison admissions, which accounts for the effects of differences in national populations, shows that England and Wales have a rate approximately three times that of Italy and Spain, and almost twice as high as Germany, with 238 prison admissions for every 100,000 people.
The UK as a whole continues to be an outlier in western Europe in its use of custody, with significantly higher prison populations than other countries. Scotland’s prison population rate per head, 150 per 100,000 of the population, is closely followed by England and Wales, with 139 per 100,000. Northern Ireland by contrast imprisons 76 per 100,000.
Scotland also has the highest proportion of probationers under supervision for “offences against persons” in all of Europe.
While the UK and Scottish government continue to believe that we are somehow, a more criminal population than the rest of Western Europe and proceed with this ancient and barbaric practice of caging people, they refuse to consider the conditions in which they are incarcerated.
Europe’s anti-torture watchdog has described conditions in Scotland’s overcrowded prisons as an emergency situation, in a damning report that highlights a rise in drug-related violence, the overuse of segregation, and inmates confined to their cells for lengthy periods of time, sometimes in less than 3m2 of living space.
Julia Kozma, who led the delegation of the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) when they visited five Scottish prisons last October, described witnessing an influx of new arrivals at HMP Grampian. She said it was “like an emergency situation” as staff searched frantically for spare mattresses.
“We don’t see the numbers going down so the emergency is becoming more and more the norm,” she added.
The blame for this inhumane and barbaric situation lies squarely at the feet of the state and its loaded judicial system. The state oversees a system of intolerable inequalities and continues to pass legislation that ensures that this system of exploitation and inequality persists. Though its priority is to unsure that the wealth and power of the predatory class is preserved, by caging those who dare to transgress its loaded legalities that are legislated to protect that class, they in no way provide for the humane treatment of those so accused and caged.
The report reserves its greatest criticisms for the treatment of inmates at the Cornton Vale women’s prison, where the delegation found “women who clearly were in need of urgent care and treatment in a psychiatric facility, and [who] should not have been in a prison environment”. They included one woman who had bitten through the skin and muscle of her arm down to the bone and another who set fire to her hair in her cell. Since the delegation’s visit it is understood these women have been transferred to a medium secure psychiatric facility.
There is no democracy or justice in a society that cages humans and then heaps humiliation, degrading and often violent conditions on them. If we want a better society then we have to treat all our people as human beings. Our present economic system does not allow for that.https://radicalglasgow.me.uk