Spain comes sixth in Europe on the list of where prisoners receive the longest sentences.
Spanish prisoners spend an average of 19 months in prison whereas their European counterparts spend an average of 10 months behind bars.
A report by the European Council in Brussels, under the title ‘Space 2012,’ has revealed that Spain has a tendency to hand out longer prison sentences than other European countries; only the Ukraine (38 months), Azerbaijan (30 months), Portugal (24 months), Romania (24 months) and Moldavia (21 months) sentence their prisoners to more ‘hard time.’
The lightest sentences are handed out by Italy (10 months), UK (eight months), France (nine months) and Germany (seven months).
Marcelo Aebi, of the Swiss University of Lausanne, comments that Spanish sentences are overly harsh and this has led to overpopulation in the prison system.
Aebi went on to recognise that the situation had been getting better in the last few years but was still over the European average, principally due to the sentences for drug related offences which were way over average.
Aebi also underscored the fact that longer sentences are useless as they do not rehabilitate the prisoners and should be replaced with lighter sentences accompanied by ‘alternative punishments’ which would go some way towards helping the prisoners to re-adjust to life outside walls.