The Prison and Probation Service

Over the course of the year 2017 a total of 8,420 individuals were admitted to prison, which is a decrease of 1 percent by comparison with 2016.


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 4,150 in 2017, which constitutes a decrease of 2 percent by comparison with 2016. The level is now 23 percent lower than it was in 2008.

Of those admitted to prisons during the year 2017, 22 percent had been sentenced for theft offences. Around 12 percent had been sentenced for crimes against life and health, around 27 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 2017, men accounted for approximately 93 percent of the total number of prison inmates. The proportion of inmates comprised of women has been relatively stable over the last ten years.

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 98 percent in 2017. The proportion of women is relatively large among inmates sentenced for embezzlement (29 percent).

Around 15 percent of those admitted to prison in 2017 were aged 50 or older. 45 percent were aged between 30 and 49, 33 percent were aged between 21 and 29. Youths aged 20 or under accounted for 5 percent of admissions in 2017. 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 21 to 29 years, with 223 prison admissions per 100,000 of population, as compared with 70 admissions per 100,000 of population among those aged 15 to 20 years.

Approximately 1,640 individuals served their prison sentence by means of intensive electronic supervision in 2017, which constitutes a decrease of 10 percent by comparison with 2016.

In 2017 approximately 9,360 persons entered the supervision of the probation service. This represents a decrease of 8 percent by comparison with the figure for 2016. Approximately 6,110 persons (65 percent) were sentenced to probation and approximately 3,250 persons (35 percent) were conditionally discharged.

There were approximately 1,830 individuals placed in remand centres on 1st October 2017. Of these, 82 percent were under detention awaiting trial or during ongoing criminal investigations and 3 percent were under arrest or otherwise in police custody. The number of persons serving a prison sentence in remand centres was 170 persons on 1st October 2017.