ICPR's World Prison Brief (WPB) is a unique database that provides free access to information about prison systems throughout the world. Country information is updated on a monthly basis, using data largely derived from governmental or other official sources. Each country page gives information on:

  • total prison populations, and prison population rates per 100,000 of the national population
  • the use of imprisonment for women, juveniles and foreign nationals
  • the extent of pre-trial/remand imprisonment
  • prison overcrowding, as indicated by occupancy levels
  • news and official reports on prison conditions
  • details of local organisations and other resources
  • department or ministry responsible for prisons, with contact information 

The WPB also presents ‘highest to lowest’ country lists, enabling country-by-country and regional comparisons to be made of prison population rates and totals, occupancy rates, and proportions of pre-trial/remand prisoners, female prisoners and foreign prisoners. (Data shown in the highest to lowest lists are the most recent available but not necessarily from the same date. Please click on each individual country to see the date to which the data refer. As it is not possible to obtain meaningful comparative data on numbers of children in custody in different countries, we do not include juvenile imprisonment data in the highest to lowest lists.)

The WPB provides historic trend data on total prison populations and prison population rates per 100,000 of the general population, where data are available. On the ‘Overview’ tab for each country, available figures are shown at two yearly intervals from the year 2000; figures for earlier years can be found on the country’s ‘Further Information’ tab. The WPB also gives trend data on pre-trial/remand prison populations of over 180 countries, and on female prisoners in over 170 countries.

Priorities as a partner of the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data

To use the World Prison Brief and associated research projects, publications, and network events to highlight the need for states to collect and publish data on numbers held in pre-trial detention. ICPR also commits to advocate for greater transparency, accuracy, and timeliness of pre-trial detention data, and raise awareness of the costs and harms of unnecessary or excessive use of pre-trial imprisonment. We will support national prison administrations by providing advice on data capture and reporting, enabling progress against SDG16 target 16.3 to be monitored.


This Partner Works to Achieve These SDGs