ANALYSIS OF THE REHABILITATION OF INMATES AT THE NSAWAM MEDIUM SECURITY PRISON

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CONTENTS

DECLARATION………………………………………………………………………………………… i

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS…………………………………………………………………………….. iii

ABSTRACT OF THE DISSERTATION……………………………………………………………… iv

CONTENTS……………………………………………………………………………………………. vi

LIST OF FIGURES………………………………………………………………………………….. viii

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION…………………………………………………………………. 1

2.5     Post-release and Recidivism of inmates………………………………………………… 16

CHAPTER THREE: METHODOLOGY……………………………………………………………… 19

  1. Introduction………………………………………………………………………………… 19
    1. The Study Area……………………………………………………………………………. 21
    1. The preliminary field work……………………………………………………………….. 23
    1. Sample and Sampling Technique………………………………………………………… 24
    1. Data Instrument…………………………………………………………………………… 25
    1. Data Collection Method……………………………………………………………………. 26
    1. Data collection limitations………………………………………………………………… 26

CHAPTER FOUR: DATA ANALYSIS………………………………………………………………. 29

CHAPTER FIVE: RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSIONS……………………………….. 49

REFERENCES………………………………………………………………………………………… 57

APPENDICES…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

……….56

Appendix 1- Interview questions………………………………………………………………… 60

Appendix 2 – occupation of inmates before conviction and the training pursued in

prison……………………………………………………………………………………………….. 62

Appendix 3- Number of previous convictions (recidivists) and their occupation

before conviction………………………………………………………………………………….. 63

Appendix 4- Sentence period and training pursued…………………………………………… 63

LIST OF FIGURES

Figure 1: Recidivists and their occupation before conviction………………………… 33

Figure 2: Sentence period of inmates and training pursued in prison……………. 34

Figure 3: Crimes for which inmates are in prison……………………………………….. 35

Figure 4: How inmates chose their vocation programme……………………………… 36

Figure 5: Problems inmates face during rehabilitation………………………………… 40

Figure 6: Problems inmates are likely to face upon discharge………………………. 42

Figure 7: Suggested solutions to problems by inmates……………………………….. 43

LIST OF TABLES

Table 1: Demographic of trainee inmates…………………………………………………. 29

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION

                Background of the Study


“The Ghana Prison Service performs its mandatory functions of protecting the public by ensuring the safe custody and welfare of prisoners and also undertaking their reform and rehabilitation…” (Ghana prison service, 2010)

Attempts have been made worldwide to eliminate crime through

retribution and deterrence. Recidivism1 has become a major problem in our

prisons presently as people relapse into crime after the expiration of a sentence for a previous offence. Reckless (1961) used various crime theories to explain the recidivism problem. According to Reckless, “one should expect to find a large proportion of strong mental components to repeat in crime and to relapse time after time”; he further proposed a theory saying, “the inavoidance of bad influences on some inmates posed by the congregation of offenders in one place who become progressively wise and complex and practice when released (p.288).”

A study conducted by Afari Danso at James Camp Prison (1985), revealed that a majority of prisoners upon release were jobless, neglected and had no skill thus they were stigmatized and therefore had the tendency to go back to prison for committing other crimes.

1 Recidivism is the relapse into crime (Petersilia & Turner, 1990)

According to Sutherland and Cressey (1978), prisoners are neither highly educated nor intelligent and have known a lot of delinquencies. Sutherland and Cressey state, “good companions make good boys, and bad companions make bad boys. Behaviour is not only learned but it is also taught. (p. 86)” It is based on this notion that rehabilitation2 has become a part of the Ghana Prison Service’s mission. The mission clearly states, “The Ghana Prison Service performs its mandatory functions of protecting the public by ensuring the safe custody and welfare of prisoners and also undertaking reform and rehabilitation (Ghana Prison Service, 2010)”. The assumption is that after going through the correctional and rehabilitation process, ex-convicts would be more equipped and thus would be in a better position than before to satisfy their needs and wants and hence reduce crime considerably if not be fully eliminate it.

During this research, modern literature found on rehabilitation programmes in Ghana was very little. Literature found on this topic was mostly from old popular criminologists whose work shared insights on the significance of this study. Hence, this study will reveal some new information on the rehabilitation of prisoners in Ghanaian prisons.

2 Rehabilitation is restoring a person to an acceptable person in society (Matthews & Pitts, 1998)

                Problem Definition

The arguments of some penologists3 are directed towards achieving

the rehabilitative mission of the Ghana Prison Service; rather than that of retribution. Nsawam Prison amongst other prisons was established to propagate the objectives and programmes of the service which is aimed at reducing recidivism and rehabilitation of inmates. This study seeks to evaluate the rehabilitation programmes in the prison and whether or not its objectives have been achieved.

It has been found that some criminals continue to commit crimes after being convicted in prison several times. This phenomenon has caused concerns and this study will attempt to evaluate the rehabilitation programs in Ghana, considering Nsawam Prison, Ghana’s largest and most prominent prison as a reflection of all other prisons in the country. Back in 1932, it was found that more than half of the total number of prisoners had previously been in prison in England and Wales. More than a quarter of the total inmates which was more than 10,000 had served more than four previous sentences (Grunhunt, 1948).

Recidivism is on the rise in Ghana and yet prisons are supposed to have rehabilitation programmes to avoid this. A July 1991 issue of the Awake Newspaper stated that, “Nearly 63% of the inmates released from state prisons were arrested for a more serious crime within three years, the Justice

3 Penology is the management and treatment of inmates in a prison (Petersilia & Turner, 1990)

department said in a study released in 1991 (Simpson, 1991)” and goes on to state that “Prison gates have become more like revolving doors; nearly two-thirds of all convicts are rearrested within three years of their release (Simpson, 1991).”

A visit to the Nsawam Medium Security Prison revealed that there are recidivists, and a block has been assigned to them even though they went through the rehabilitation programme in their earlier convictions. This study tackles the question of what factors will reduce recidivism and the effectiveness of rehabilitation and its impact on prisoners.

The main way by which Ghanaian prisons tend to achieve the rehabilitation of inmates is by the provision of vocational training and skills with the assumption that when they are freed, they would be able to take care of themselves legitimately. An inmate upon release from prison starts life as a new person “cured” of his old ways and contributes productively to the society. The possibility of a relapse to crime after prison rehabilitation will reduce and prison population will be less as a result of the reduction in prison incarceration.

Due to this notion, Ghanaian prisons have introduced vocational training courses such as carpentry, masonry, weaving, shoe making and metal works. The rehabilitation process is not as easy as it may sound and its effectiveness will depend on a number of factors:

The attitude of the inmate towards the training programme is very important. If an inmate refuses to acknowledge the value of the training

programme and adopts a negative attitude towards the programme, the desired result will not be met and hence such a person may return to crime. It is important that inmates are taken through an orientation process that will make them aware of the significance of the rehabilitation programme. This will make them more willing to participate in the programme with a positive attitude and will reduce crime in the country.

The efficiency of the rehabilitation programme will depend on the intensity of the training process. Time spent and the nature of the work done in a day is instrumental in determining this. The efficiency of the training process is very important because it is assumed that, the more the time is spent in training, the higher the intensity and the better the skill acquired by the inmate.

The success of the vocational rehabilitation programme will also depend on the availability of tools, raw materials and workshops for meaningful learning process. These inputs will serve as a form of motivation and will help in the success of rehabilitation.

Another major factor is the need to match an inmates’ training to his ability, choice and social circumstances and also to the length of the sentence in order to achieve a meaningful reformation. Haphazardly chosen training fields are likely to be difficult to cope with.

These are some of the problems of rehabilitating an inmate in Ghanaian Prisons, and this study tends to look at the rehabilitation programme as it exists in Ghanaian Prisons.