Politics

Luxembourg prisoners most likely to escape, study shows


Luxembourg prisoners most likely to escape, study shows

Prisons

Grand Duchy had the fourth highest suicide rate among prisoners in 2020, out of 46 countries which make up the Council of Europe

Grand Duchy had the fourth highest suicide rate among prisoners in 2020, out of 46 countries which make up the Council of Europe

One of Luxembourg's prisons, in Schrassig near Sandweiler
One of Luxembourg’s prisons, in Schrassig near Sandweiler

Photo credit: Pierre Matgé/Luxemburger Wort

More prisoners escaped from jail in Luxembourg in 2020 than in any of the other 45 nations which make up the Council of Europe, the human rights organisation said on Tuesday.

The Council of Europe comprises the 27 European Union countries and 19 other nations ranging from Armenia to Azerbaijan. Of all members, Luxembourg had the highest pro-rata rate of prisoner escapes, with 431 inmates per 10,000 managing to flee jail.

Luxembourg had the fourth highest suicide rate among prisoners in 2020, the report showed, with 18 inmates per 10,000 taking their own lives. France had the highest rate with 28 suicides per 10,000 prisoners, followed by Latvia and Portugal.  

In January, there were 611 prisoners in Luxembourg’s two jails – in Schrassig near Sandweiler and in Givenich, not far from the German border. Another prison will open its doors at the end of the year in Sanem in the south of the country. The existing two prisons have capacity for 710 people and the new prison will have an additional 400 beds.

A total of 21% of prisoners in Luxembourg were sentenced for theft, 16% for homicide or attempted homicide, and 18% for drug offences, the Council of Europe data showed.

Around 35% of prisoners were given a sentence of between one and three years while 14% were locked up for five to 10 years. The average length of time inmates are behind bars in the Grand Duchy is nine years.

The Grand Duchy had the fifth-highest percentage of pre-trial detainees –  whereby defendants who have not yet been found guilty are held in custody while they await trial or sentencing – with 43% waiting to stand before a judge, the report showed. 

Around 73% of those in Luxembourg cells were foreigners – the highest proportion of non-native prisoners across all countries. Switzerland had the second-highest proportion, followed by Greece and Austria. Foreigners make up around half of Luxembourg’s population, rising to 70% in the capital. 


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