Prisons in Switzerland are operated by the Swiss cantons, which are responsible for law enforcement in Switzerland. As of 2008, Switzerland has 124 prisons according to the Catalogue of Correctional Institutions (Katalog der Einrichtungen des Freiheitsentzuges) compiled by the Federal Statistical Office; other statistics, which account for various institutions being administratively associated with each other, report 117 prisons.[1] Swiss prisons have a capacity of up to 6,736 detainees total (amounting to 89 detention places per 100,000 inhabitants),[2] including up to 477 women and 105 minors. The detainees are housed in 4,531 single cells, 1,044 cells for multiple persons, 172 security cells, 200 disciplinary cells and 50 infirmary cells.[1]

In 2008, Swiss prisons housed 5,780 detainees (77 detainees per 100,000 inhabitants), of which 5.8% were female, 1.2% minors and 69.7% non-Swiss nationals.[2] Half of all detainees were serving prison sentences, a quarter were in pre-trial detention, six percent were detained for expulsion and extradition and three percent were reported as being in "protective custody and custody for other reasons".[2] Additionally, in 2006, 5,333 persons served a prison sentence in the form of community work orders, and 114 served their sentence in the form of electronic monitoring house arrest.[3]

in 2017, Prisoners that were locked up added up to about 6,900, while its maximum capacity is at about 7,500. The prison rate for Switzerland as of 2017 is up to 81 per 100,000. These numbers seemed to have slightly increased since 2008.[4]

According to a 2006 U.S. government report, Swiss prison conditions generally meet international standards, but prison overcrowding is a problem, particularly in the cantons of Geneva, Zürich and Bern. The report cites a 2005 Swiss government report stating that one-third of the country's detention centers were at or above their designated capacity, and nine were overcrowded by 20 percent or more.[5] Overcrowding to 200% of capacity caused a mutiny at Geneva's Champ-Dollon prison in 2006.[6]

Since the 1950s, correctional policy, prison construction, and operation is coordinated in organizations set up through regional agreements between several cantons (Strafvollzugskonkordate). As of 2009, these are:[7]

Training of prison staff is the responsibility of the joint Swiss Prison Staff Training Centre (French: Centre suisse de formation pour le personnel pénitentiaire, German: Schweizerisches Ausbildungszentrum für das Strafvollzugspersonal, Italian: Centro svizzero di formazione per il personale dei penitenziari) in Fribourg.[8]


This list is incomplete; you can help by adding missing items. (February 2011)
Image Name Canton Location Function Opened Capacity Notes External links
Bezirksgefängnis Aarau-Amtshaus AG Aarau Multipurpose prison 1936 42
Bezirksgefängnis Aarau-Telli AG Aarau Pre-trial custody 1985 14
Bezirksgefängnis Baden AG Baden Pre-trial custody, short imprisonment 1984 25
Bezirksgefängnis Bremgarten AG Bremgarten Short imprisonment 18th century 8
Bezirksgefängnis Kulm AG Unterkulm Pre-trial custody, imprisonment 1991 23
Bezirksgefängnis Zofingen AG Zofingen Pre-trial custody, imprisonment 1997 30
Bezirksgefängnis Zurzach AG Zurzach Pre-trial custody, imprisonment 1967 13
Justizvollzugsanstalt Lenzburg AG Lenzburg Multipurpose prison 1864 190 Website
Media archive
Stiftung Satis AG Seon Indefinite incarceration, involuntary commitment, semi-liberty 1956 9 Website
Kantonales Gefängnis Appenzell Ausserrhoden AR Niederteufen Pre-trial detention, extradition or expulsion detention 2007 12 Website
Strafanstalt Gmünden AR Niederteufen Multipurpose prison 1884 53 Website
Strafanstalt Wauwilermoos LU Egolzwil penitentiary and deportation[9] Established in 1940 as Wauwilermoos internment camp[10] 62 (2014)[11] Website
Untersuchungsgefängnis Trogen AR Trogen Police and pre-trial detention 1840 2
Witzwil BE Gampelen Men's detention 1995 200 With a total agricultural land area of 612 hectares, the penitentiary is the largest farm in Switzerland Website
Flughafengefängnis Abt. Ausschaffungshaft ZH Zürich Airport Expulsion detention 1995 106 With a total of 214 places (both divisions), the airport prison is the canton's largest. Website
Flughafengefängnis Abt. U-Haft und Strafvollzug ZH Zürich Airport Pre-trial detention, imprisonment 1995 108 Website
Gefängnis Affoltern am Albis ZH Affoltern am Albis Imprisonment 1973 65 Specializes in reintegration, houses only prisoners with a short remaining sentence. Website
Gefängnis Dielsdorf ZH Spitalstrasse 5, Dielsdorf Pre-trial detention, imprisonment 1960 64 Specializes in the detention of women, particularly mothers. Website
Gefängnis Horgen ZH Burghaldenstrasse 1, Horgen Pre-trial detention, imprisonment 1937 52 Has a specialized youth detention unit. Website
Gefängnis Meilen ZH Untere Bruech 141, Meilen Pre-trial detention, imprisonment 1954 35 Smallest prison in the canton. Website
Gefängnis Pfäffikon ZH Hörnlistrasse 55, Pfäffikon Pre-trial detention, imprisonment 1979 80 Has a high security unit for six detainees. Website
Gefängnis Winterthur ZH Hermann Götz-Strasse 22, Winterthur Pre-trial detention, imprisonment 1965 48 Mainly used for pre-trial detention. Website
Gefängnis Zürich ZH Rotwandstrasse 21, Zürich Pre-trial detention, imprisonment 1916 170 Used almost only for pre-trial detention. Website
Halbgefangenschaft Winterthur ZH Palmstrasse 2, Winterthur Imprisonment, semi-detention 1993 38 Specializes in semi-detention. Website
Haus Lägern ZH Lindenweg 30, Regensdorf Semi-detention 1998 30 Semi-detention division of the Strafanstalt Pöschwies. Website
Kolonie Ringwil ZH Koloniestrasse 2, Hinwil Imprisonment, semi-detention 1881 60 Part of the Strafanstalt Pöschwies. Website
Massnahmenzentrum Uitikon ZH Zürcherstrasse 100, Uitikon-Waldegg Imprisonment, educative measures 1874 48 Centre for youth offenders. Website
Polizeigefängnis Zürich ZH Kasernenstrasse 29, Zürich Police and pre-trial detention 1995 141 Provisional police detention centre. Statistics
Strafanstalt Pöschwies ZH Roosstrasse 49, Regensdorf Imprisonment, indefinite incarceration 1995 436 Largest prison in Switzerland. Website
Vollzugszentrum Urdorf ZH In den Luberzen 18, Urdorf Imprisonment 1987 49 Specializes in brief detentions ordered in lieu of fines. Closes in 2010. Website
zsge-Neugut ZH Neugutstrasse 8, Urdorf Semi-detention 1964 13 Semi-detention and resocialization centre operated by a private foundation. Website



  1. ^ a b "Einrichtungen des Freiheitsentzugs und offizielle Platzzahl, 2008" (in German). Federal Statistical Office of Switzerland. 3 September 2008. Archived from the original on 15 November 2010. Retrieved 29 September 2009.
  2. ^ a b c "Prisons, detention - Data, Indicators: Overview: Key figures". Federal Statistical Office of Switzerland. 2008. Retrieved 2009-09-29.
  3. ^ "Prisons, detention - Data, Indicators: Serving prison terms: Overview". Federal Statistical Office of Switzerland. 2006. Archived from the original on 2009-11-14. Retrieved 2009-10-30.
  4. ^ "Switzerland". Prison Studies. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  5. ^ United States Department of State (2006). "2006 Country Report on Human Rights Practices in Switzerland". Retrieved 2009-10-03.
  6. ^ "Experts condemn prison conditions". Swissinfo. April 19, 2007. Retrieved 2009-10-03.
  7. ^ "Die drei Strafvollzugskonkordate der Schweiz" (in German). Schweizerisches Ausbildungszentrum für das Strafvollzugspersonal. Archived from the original on 2009-04-04. Retrieved 2009-09-29.
  8. ^ "Contacts Archived 2007-05-06 at the Wayback Machine." Swiss Prison Staff Training Centre. Retrieved on July 22, 2010. French Archived 2009-04-02 at the Wayback Machine, German Archived 2009-09-02 at the Wayback Machine, Italian Archived 2007-08-11 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "Ausschaffungsgefängnis" (in German). Strafanstalt Wauwilermoos. Archived from the original on 2015-03-25. Retrieved 2015-10-23.
  10. ^ "Wauwilermoos: Kritik von Gefängnisinsassen" (in German). Schweiz aktuell. 2009-03-03. Archived from the original on 2016-01-29. Retrieved 2015-10-23.
  11. ^ "Fakten & Zahlen" (in German). Strafanstalt Wauwilermoos. Retrieved 2015-10-26.