According to the Council of Europe Annual Penal Statistics for 2018[1], Montenegro is above European median when we speak about the prison population among Europe countries. There are 183,3 inmates per 100,000 inhabitants (while European median is 102,5). In January 2018, there was approximately 1 141 inmates in Montenegro prisons[2]. Approximately 14% of the prisoner’s population serve their sentence for the drug law offences (163 prisoners in 2017)[3]. The average imprisonment term imposed by the courts for the drug law offences is up to 3 years[4]. Production or possession for supply is punishable by 2-10 years of imprisonment, and 2-12 years if importing. HIV prevalence in Montenegro prisons is 0,00%, while HCV is 20,1%[5]. Speaking about drug use responses in prison, it should be mentioned, that OST exist (but only continuation of OST). According the EMCDDA report, 12 prisoners receive it[6]. ART is available, NSP doesn’t exist in prison settings. According to the SPACE I 2018 survey, the average amount spent per day for the detention of one inmate in Montenegro prisons is 22,00 Eur/per day, which is 8 030,00 Eur./ per year/ per inmate.

UNAIDS data 2018 reported, that there is 1 300 people who inject drugs in Montenegro[7]. Prevalence of HIV among PWID – 0,5%[8]. The costs of NSP services are approximately 96,00 Eur. / per person/ per year. OST with Buprenorphine costs 1 234,00 Eur./ per person/ per year[9]. The minimum unemployment benefit is 77,00 Eur./ per person/ per month (which is 924,00 Eur/ per person/ per year).

So, if the person would need OST, NSP and unemployment benefit, it would cost for the state around 2 254,00 Eur./ per person/ per year.

The health and social services costs are more than 3,5 times less than incarceration costs.


[1] Prisons and Prisoners in Europe 2018: Key Findings of the SPACE I report Marcelo F. Aebi and Mélanie M. Tiago
[2] Council of Europe Annual Penal Statistics – SPACE 2018
[3] Council of Europe Annual Penal Statistics – SPACE 2018
[4] Drug law offences in the Western Balkan region: from definition to monitoring
[9] The information is estimated and provided by the national partners in Montenegro (service providers organization)