The Prison and Probation Service

Over the course of the year 2016 a total of 8,500 individuals were admitted to prison, which is a decrease of 1 percent by comparison with 2015.


Persons sentenced to imprisonment and admitted to prison in Sweden, 1975–2016.

In 1975 a total of approximately 10,900 individuals were admitted to prisons. The highest level was recorded in 1988 (approximately 16,100).

The number of inmates in prison service institutions (on 1st October) was approximately 4,230 in 2016, which constitutes a decrease of 1 percent by comparison with 2015. The level is now 20 percent lower than it was in 2007.

Of those admitted to prisons during the year 2016, 22 percent had been sentenced for theft offences. Around 13 percent had been sentenced for crimes against life and health, around 25 percent had been sentenced for drug offences and around 12 percent had been sentenced for road traffic offences. Assault offences dominated among the crimes against life and health and drink driving offences dominated among the traffic offences.

The majority of those admitted to prisons are men. In 2016, men accounted for approximately 92 percent of the total number of prison inmates. The proportion of inmates comprised of women has been relatively stable over the last ten years but compared to 2015 it increased by 2 percentage points.

Men constitute the majority of those admitted to prison in connection with all offence types. For example, the proportion of males among those admitted to prison for a sexual offence is 99 percent in 2016. The proportion of women is relatively large among inmates sentenced for theft (11 percent).

Around 37 percent of those admitted to prison in 2016 were aged 40 or older. 27 percent were aged between 30 and 39, 18 percent were aged between 25 and 29 and 13 percent were aged between 21 and 24 years. Youths aged 20 or under accounted for 5 percent of admissions in 2016. Looking instead at those admitted to prison per 100,000 of population in the respective age groups, the distribution is different. On this basis, the dominant age group comprises persons aged 25 to 29 years, with 221 prison admissions per 100,000 of population, as compared with 65 admissions per 100,000 of population among those aged 15 to 20 years.

Approximately 1,820 individuals served their prison sentence by means of intensive electronic supervision in 2016, which constitutes a decrease of 1 percent by comparison with 2015.

In 2016 approximately 9,440 persons entered the supervision of the probation service. This represents a decrease of 6 percent by comparison with the figure for 2015. Approximately 5,800 persons (61 percent) were sentenced to probation and approximately 3,640 persons (39 percent) were conditionally discharged.

There were approximately 1,680 individuals placed in remand centres on 1st October 2016. Of these, 83 percent were under detention awaiting trial or during ongoing criminal investigations and 2 percent were under arrest or otherwise in police custody. The number of persons serving a prison sentence in remand centres was 145 persons on 1st October 2016.