The number of persons subject to sanctions and measures which keep offenders in the community and do not deprive them of liberty grew by 3% in Europe from 2019 to 2020, according to the 2020 SPACE II annual survey, carried out for the Council of Europe by the University of Lausanne. (Please see also the Key Findings).
This growth – from 1,456,192 in 2019 to 1,500,547 persons in 2020 - is reflected by the data provided by 29 probation agencies which use the person as a counting unit (some administrations use other indicators such as the number of cases or files). It continues a trend of expansion across Europe of community sanctions and measures such as electronic monitoring, community service, home arrest, treatments, semi-liberty and conditional release.
On 31 January 2020 there were across Europe 149 probationers per 100,000 inhabitants compared to 103 inmates in prison per 100,000 inhabitants. The probation administrations with the highest probation rates were Poland (643 probationers per 100,000 inhabitants), Turkey (627), Lithuania (568) and Georgia (562). The administrations with the lowest rates correspond to two countries that started to use community sanctions and measures in the last decade: North Macedonia (6 probationers per 100,000 inhabitants) and Serbia (35), followed by Switzerland (47), Norway (49), Finland (54) and Bulgaria (56).
In 34 out of the 40 prison and probation administrations which provided data, the probation population rate was higher than the prison population rate. Conducted every year for the Council of Europe by the University of Lausanne, the SPACE survey provides an overview of the use of custodial (SPACE I) and community sanctions and measures -also known as alternatives to imprisonment - (SPACE II) in the Council of Europe member states.