Ministry of Justice (sentenced prisoners), Ministry of Public Security (pre-trial detainees and persons in administrative detention)
Prison Administration Bureau (MoJ)
No.10 Chaoyangmen Nandajie, Beijing 100020, China (MoJ)
+86 10 6520 6258 or 6213 (MoJ)
+86 10 6520 5866 or 5239 (MoJ)
|Head of prison administration (and title)|| |
Liu Zhenyu (MoJ)
|Prison population total (including pre-trial detainees / remand prisoners)|| |
1 690 000
at 31.12.2018 (national prison administration - sentenced prisoners in Ministry of Justice prisons only, excluding pre-trial detainees and those held in administrative detention). The Deputy Procurator-General of the Supreme People's Procuratorate reported in 2009 that, in addition to the sentenced prisoners, more than 650,000 were held in detention centres In China; if this was still correct in 2018 the total prison population in China was at least 2,340,000. In addition, it is widely reported that about a million Uighur Muslims are detained in camps in Xinjiang province; no reliable figures are available.
|Prison population rate (per 100,000 of national population)|| |
based on an estimated national population of 1.418 billion at 2018 (from United Nations figures) - sentenced prisoners in Ministry of Justice prisons only. (A total prison population of 2,340,000 would raise the prison population rate to 165 per 100,000.)
|Pre-trial detainees / remand prisoners (percentage of prison population)|| |
The total number of pre-trial detainees/remand prisoners is probably in excess of 200,000. This is based on a 2014 report of the Supreme People's Procuratorate and an estimate of three months for the average length of pre-trial detention, not including time awaiting the result of appeals (Xiaowei Zhang in 'Pre-trial detention', van Kempen (editor), International Penal and Penitentiary Foundation, volume 44, 2012).
|Female prisoners (percentage of prison population)|| |
(of sentenced prisoners in Ministry of Justice prisons, 31.12.2018)
|Juveniles / minors / young prisoners incl. definition (percentage of prison population)|| |
(of sentenced prisoners in Ministry of Justice prisons, 31.12.2013)
|Foreign prisoners (percentage of prison population)|| |
(of sentenced prisoners in Ministry of Justice prisons, mid-2015)
|Number of establishments / institutions|| |
The Ministry of Justice holds sentenced prisoners in 683 prisons, including 41 prisons for females and 28 reformatories for juvenile delinquents.
|Occupancy level (based on official capacity)|| |
|Prison population trend|
(year, prison population total, prison population rate)
Around 120,000 given over five years in prison for drug crimes since 2012
China passes pilot program for plea bargains
China Invokes Confucius to Rehabilitate Prisoners
Defendants No Longer Wear Prison Uniform in Chinese Courts
China's Top Court Steps Up Harsher Punishment for Drug-Related Crimes
US State Department Human Rights Country Report 2013: China, Tibet, Hong Kong and Macau
A Human Rights Approach to Prison Management: Handbook for Prison Staff. Second Edition. Chinese version.
Guidance Notes on Prison Reform (Chinese version)
A Human Rights Approach to Prison Management: Handbook for Prison Staff. First edition. Chinese Version
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.
The above figures relate to sentenced prisoners in Ministry of Justice prisons only, excluding pre-trial detainees and those held in administrative detention.
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 trend up to 2000
The figures below give an indication of the prison population trend in the years up to 2000. They supplement the more recent figures that are shown at the foot of the Overview page and in the graphs below.
Like those at the foot of the Overview page and in the graphs, they are in respect of sentenced prisoners in Ministry of Justice prisons. Figures are not available for those in pre-trial or ‘administrative’ detention under the Ministry of Public Security.
Prison population rate