Longford has the highest rate of imprisonment in Ireland, according to new figures released to Newstalk.
The figures show that 5,179 people were sent to prisons around the country in 2021.
The average rate across all counties was 77 people jailed per 100,000 population.
A breakdown, based on the home addresses of the criminals, shows which counties have the highest and lowest rates.
Longford had the highest imprisonment rate at 161 per 100,000.
It was followed by Limerick at 146, Dublin at 129 and Louth at 120.
Mountjoy Prison Governor John Lonergan told Newstalk that some of the counties are predictable - but he did not expect Longford to top the pile.
“Obviously Longford is a major surprise in the sense that it is a very small population, very much dominated by rural areas with very few significant urban areas,” he said.
“That is a surprise to me. I certainly wouldn’t have predicted that. Limerick Dublin and Louth would be very predictable in the sense that they are big urban areas.
“Over the years, urban areas were always the main suppliers of people who ended up in prison.”
He said some areas linked to gangland crime have high rates of imprisonment.
“In terms of Louth in particular, over the last four or five years it has attracted a lot of public attention in relation to the gangland feuds up there and some of the savagery that has been committed,” he said.
“The same I think would be true of Limerick over the years as well.
“So, it is not surprising at all that ‘drugland’ feuds and gangs and murders, in particular, bring about higher levels of policing and inevitably higher levels of convictions.”
Donegal came out as the country’s most law-abiding county – with a rate of just 24 per 100,000.