Costa Rica

CountryCosta Rica
Ministry responsible
Ministerio de Justicia y Paz
Prison administration
Direccion General de Adaptacion Social
Contact address
2do piso del edificio del Ministerio de Justicia, 400mts Sur del Banco Popular, San Jose, Costa Rica
Telephone
+506 2256 6700 (ext. 262)
Fax
+506 2222 0661
Website
Head of prison administration (and title)
(Lic.) Reynaldo Villalobos Zuniga
Director General de Adaptacion Social
Prison population total (including pre-trial detainees / remand prisoners)
19 226
at 1.10.2017 (national prison administration - includes 924 in juvenile institutions)
Prison population rate (per 100,000 of national population)
374
based on an estimated national population of 5.14 million at beginning of October 2017 (from United Nations figures)
Pre-trial detainees / remand prisoners (percentage of prison population)
17.2%
(30.9.2014)
Female prisoners (percentage of prison population)
5.4%
(1.10.2017)
Juveniles / minors / young prisoners incl. definition (percentage of prison population)
1.6%
(30.9.2014 - juveniles)
Foreign prisoners (percentage of prison population)
14.6%
(of prisoners in closed institutions, 31.12.2013)
Number of establishments / institutions
33
(2009 - 17 Centros de Atencion Institucional, 2 Modulos Institucional, 11 semi-open facilities and 3 juvenile institutions)
Official capacity of prison system
9 791
(31.12.2013 - capacity of closed institutions)
Occupancy level (based on official capacity)
139.4%
(31.12.2013 - occupancy level in closed institutions)
Prison population trend
(year, prison population total, prison population rate)
2000 7,575 193
2002 8,113 198
2004 8,890 209
2006 9,037 206
2008 9,682 214
2010 12,110 259
2012 14,555 303
2000 7,575 193
2002 8,113 198
2004 8,890 209
2006 9,037 206
2008 9,682 214
2010 12,110 259
2012 14,555 303

Pages

Pre-trial/remand prison population: trend

The table below gives an indication of the recent trend in the pre-trial/remand prison population. The final row shows the latest figures available.

It consists of the number of pre-trial/remand prisoners in the prison population on a single date in the year (or the annual average) and the percentage of the total prison population that pre-trial/remand prisoners constituted on that day.  

The final column shows the pre-trial/remand population rate per 100,000 of the national population. 

                                                 COSTA RICA

Year

Number in
pre-trial/remand
imprisonment

Percentage
of total
prison population

Pre-trial/remand
population rate
(per 100,000 of
national population)

2002
2005
2010

1,880
2,509
2,733

24.0%
29.4%
23.5%

46
58
58

2014

2,996

17.2%

61

It should be noted that the number of pre-trial/remand prisoners fluctuates from day to day, month to month and year to year. Consequently the above figures give an indication of the trend but the picture is inevitably incomplete.

The pre-trial/remand population rate is calculated on the basis of the national population total. All national population figures are inevitably estimates but the estimates used in the World Prison Brief are based on official national figures, United Nations figures or figures from other recognised international authorities. 

Female prison population: trend

The table below gives an indication of the trend in the female prison population. The final row shows the latest figures available.

It consists of the number of female prisoners in the prison population on a single date in the year (or the annual average) and the percentage of the total prison population that female prisoners constituted on that day. 

The final column shows the female prison population rate per 100,000 of the national population.

                                                   COSTA RICA

Year

Number of
female
prisoners

Percentage
of total
prison population

Female prison
population rate
(per 100,000 of
national population)

2003
2006
2009

454
615
673

6.8%
7.4%
6.4%

10.8
13.9
14.5

2017

1,034

5.4%

20.1

The number of female prisoners fluctuates and so the above figures give an indication of the trend but the picture is inevitably incomplete.

The female prison population rate is calculated on the basis of the national population total. All national population figures are inevitably estimates but the estimates used in the World Prison Brief are based on official national figures, United Nations figures or figures from other recognised international authorities.

(If the rate were calculated on the basis of the number of females in the national population it would of course be approximately double the figure in the final column).

Prison population total
Prison population rate