Foreigners Account For 80 Per Cent of Inmates in French-Speaking Swiss Prisons

prison cells

Foreigners now account for 80 per cent of prison inmates in the French-speaking part of Switzerland according to Franz Walter, director of prisons in Bellechasse.

Mr Walter claimed that the rate of foreign prisoners in the French-speaking part of Switzerland was 80 per cent, compared to the German-speaking part of the country where the number was between 50 and 60 per cent, broadcaster RTS reports.

Most of the prisoners, according to Walter, come from Eastern Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, and the Maghreb.

“Unfortunately a good part of Maghrebians come from the suburbs of France,” Walter said.

Walter also noted problems with inter-ethnic violence and violence against employees in prisons, which he said was only further fueled by a large problem with overcrowding.

Islamic radicalisation was also touched on by Walter, who said that despite the phenomenon not being as prevalent as in other countries, there had been several recent cases.

“Even in the canton of Fribourg, young people, unsecured, fall into this trap, we must really fight against this phenomenon,” he said.

Radicalisation has been a major concern in prisons across western Europe. In neighbouring France, for example, two inmates were caught plotting a terror attack in October 2017, and were found to have smuggled mobile phones into the prison which they used to contact members of the Islamic State terror organisation.

In France, Muslims are said to make up as much as 60 per cent of the total prison population.

In Austria, radical Islamic extremist literature was found in the library of the Korneuburg prison leading to the government sacking the Islamic organisation which had been tasked with providing literature to the prison system.

Months later the head Imam for Austria’s prison system, Ramazan Demir, spoke out about the situation, saying that Austrian prisons were becoming “breeding grounds” for radicalisation.

 Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at) 



Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.