Rehabilitation as a third priority in a twenty first century prison: Results from three prisons in Ghana

Mr Frank Darkwa Baffour1

1James Cook University, Australia, Douglas-Townsville, Australia

In Ghana, the 1972 prisons service decree mandates prison officers and administrators to ensure safe custody and welfare of convicted inmates, and when practicable undertake rehabilitation and reformation. This study reports findings on the state of rehabilitation in Ghana’s prisons, with respondents selected from three most populated (Nsawam Medium Security Prison and Kumasi Central prison) and high security (Ankaful Maximum Security) prisons. The study employed a qualitative design and collected data from 12 prison officers and 15 inmates. The interpretive phenomenological analysis was utilized to analyze the data. Results from the study revealed that offender rehabilitation was inadequate in all three prisons, with one of the prisons having its workshop department uncompleted. Additionally, two of the prisons were overpopulated, leading to a majority of the inmates not enrolled in rehabilitation program. Further, counseling services were nonexistent due to lack of professionals. The study concludes that rehabilitation was not practicable in any of the three prisons due to inadequate equipment and personnel. There is the need for the 1972 prisons service decree to be revised to make rehabilitation the primary priority for imprisoning offenders in Ghana. Additional, there is the need for a total overhaul of the country’s prisons to make provision for modern rehabilitation workshops and equipment to enhance effective rehabilitation.


Frank Darkwa Baffour, originating from Ghana, has Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Social Work from the University of Ghana. I am currently pursuing my PhD in Social Work at James Cook University, Australia, on the topic: Factors contributing to recidivism among inmates in selected Ghana prisons. My researcher interests are; Crime, Recidivism, Intimate partner Violence, Criminal Justice Social Work, Juvenile Delinquency, Mental Health, and Child Labor.


The society is devoted to promoting criminological study, research and practice in the region and bringing together persons engaged in all aspects of the field. The membership of the society reflects the diversity of persons involved in the field, including practitioners, academics, policy makers and students.

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