Human rights organizations have just released figures for all of Europe for the year 2017, indicating that Iceland maintained the lowest exponential number of prisoners per one-hundred-thousand citizens in the European Union — just 39 per 100,000. Topping the list is Lithuania, where 232 out of every 100,000 are prisoners. After Iceland, the lowest prisoner populations were in Sweden, Finland, and Denmark, with around fifty prisoners per 100,000. The EU on average saw 116 people incarcerated for every 100,000 persons. That happens to be the lowest rate of incarceration in the past 20 years. The average of women prisoners is just five percent. The statistics do not include any juveniles under the age of 18.
The Minister of the Interior in Iceland told reporters recently that the reason Iceland has such a low incarceration rate is that penalties for minor infractions of the law are so severe financially that most people are never tempted to try for anything more serious. For example, a simple DUI in Iceland automatically deprives the driver of his or her license for a full year. The Minister also said that since all grade schools in Iceland teach conflict resolution as part of the curriculum, there are fewer domestic or public infractions involving physical violence and abuse.