The number of women and girls in prison has increased by 50 per cent in the past 15 years, a new study has shown.

According to the new World Female Imprisonment List, there are more than 700,000 women and girls held in penal institutions around the world.

The analysis shows that female population levels have grown much faster than male prison population levels since around the year 2000.

England and Wales rank 20th for total female prison population on the list, whereas Scotland and Northern Ireland rank 94th and 147th respectively. The countries ranks in terms of the per cent of prison population which is female are 100th, 83rd and 146th in the world respectively.

The US has the largest female prison population overall, and ranks 18th in terms of percentage of prison population, while Liechtenstein has the highest proportion of women held in penal institutions.

Meanwhile, reflected against the country’s population as a whole, Thailand imprisons the most women, followed by the US and then Seychelles.

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