Romania is the European country with the greatest number of its expats in prison in the EU.
An international team of journalists across six nations with data from 25 countries has revealed these stats - and investigated why this is happening.
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Explore the chord diagram to find out more about foreign nationals in EU prisons. Select a country to see where its diaspora is imprisoned
Around 11500 Romanians were in jails in EU member states in 2015 (France: 2014), according to data requested from 25 member states
This is journalistic, not academic research, and is an estimate of the real number, because many countries have different reporting strategies. For an in-depth look into the methodology, click here.
There were 28334 Romanians in Prison in Romania and around 11500 in the EU. The crime rate is around three times higher (0.39 per cent) for Romanians abroad than Romanians at home (0.13 per cent)
No. There are 2.9 million of Romanians living outside of their home country in the EU
They are the second largest expat population in the EU - after Poland
There is no crime wave from Romania
Only one in every 256 Romanian expats is in jail
Explore the map to see migration relationships across the EU. Select a country to view where its diaspora is going
Romanians are mostly convicted for petty crime, such as shoplifting, burglary and mugging
Most convicts are poor and many suffer discrimination at home and abroad
Many also commit the same crime multiple times - which means they often return to prison for a series of minor incidents
However there are gangs involved in online fraud, human trafficking, extortion and blowing up ATM machines
Poor education, lack of social mobility, and low incomes in Romania drive many to seek fortune abroad. But instead some turn to crime. Many Romanians who are law-abiding at home, become criminals abroad
These charts show how there is an inverse relationship between the number of criminals abroad, and the average income in their own nation
When we look at the number of criminals as a percentage of their expat population, Romania does not come in the top spot - that belongs to Lithuania
Expats in jail per country of origin(%)
Average income per country of origin(€)
The average amount spent per day on a European prisoner is 99€, according to the Council of Europe
Therefore the cost of Romanians in jails in the EU is around 400 million Euro per year
EU expat prisoners count for around 33,600 or 5% of the total prisoners in the EU - so remain a minority.
This is data from 2014 against our data on Romania from 2015, taking into account our variables. So this is only a broad estimate.
The size of the prison population across the 28 states that have been or became EU members has remained almost static between 2002 and 2014. This oscillated between 600,000 and 650,000 for every year, according to Council of Europe figures
This reveals that changes in the migrant population across the EU in the last 14 years have not led to an increase in convictions
“There are so many different forms of immigration and waves of people who migrate and under different circumstances and how well received they are in society or how prepared that society is, so it’s impossible to say whether this leads to less or more crime. We have to look at circumstances and different conditions in which immigration is taking place. It can lead to both outcomes.” Christian Walburg, doctor in Criminal Science at Westphalian Wilhelm University, Munster.
We have looked behind these statistics to analyse why Romania and Lithuania have come top in the EU crime stats
From on the ground reportage in Italy, Spain, Romania, Germany, Lithuania and the UK, we present features about victims of human trafficking and drug addiction, interviews with begging gangs, thieves, career criminals, police officers, criminologists, charity workers and mafia experts, who have helped us wrestle with the problems and the solutions.
Trafficked girls from Romania to Spain reveal path from tragedy to recovery
Why is the Baltic state the EU nation with the highest percentage of expats in jail?
How Romania topped prisoner numbers in Italy - and how this is changing
From the buzz of crime, to the shock of arrest and the comedown of a society that discriminates against the ex-con
Exploring the favelas of the Romanian Roma in Italy
Romania is the European country with the highest number of its expats in prison in the EU
Searching for a new class of east European addicts who steal for heroin in Spain
Many girls thought it would be a game where they make love to one man and then another
How kids from Romania were sexually abused by the Italian elite at Rome’s Termini station
Vlad Odobescu (Romania): text, data collection
Michael Bird (Romania/UK): text, photos, data collection
Cosmin Pojoranu (Romania): graphics
Andrei Mocanca (Romania): web dev, data visualization
Cecilia Ferrara (Italy): text
With thanks to Inga Springe (Latvia), Giulio Rubino (Italy), Trine Smistrup (Netherlands)
Feliciano Tisera (Spain): text
Sorina Vazelina (Romania): illustrations
Paulius Ramanauskas (Lithuania): text
Šarūnas Černiauskas (Lithuania): text
Sigute Limontaite (UK/Germany): text
This project was made with the support of Journalism Fund