Social Integration of Offenders And Recidivism in Ghana


In Ghana, the issue of offenders returning home safely to lead law-abiding lives has been a daunting task. Every year, hundreds of offenders leave the prison but relapse into criminal behaviour sooner or later after their release. It is on record that 24% of exoffenders recidivate again and again. This implies that secondary crime prevention strategies in Ghana are ineffective in reforming, rehabilitating and reintegrating the offenders. The question this study sought to address is: what is the nature of the transition of offenders in Ghana? In addressing this question, a sample of offenders who were recidivists, case managers, social workers, prison evangelists and family members of the recidivists were purposively engaged in in-depth interviews. The findings suggest that most ex-offenders re-offend because of individual characteristics, family relationships, community context and penal policies which have been categorized into the institutional push and pull factors as well as social and community push factors. The institutional push factors stem from the fact that penal policies in Ghana mainly focus on custody, deterrence and retribution rather than rehabilitation. Consequently, prison-based interventions are ineffective in transforming the inmates into law-abiding citizens because governments are not obliged to finance rehabilitation programmes. The social and community push factors find expression in social rejection. The social system outside the prison is coercive and non-supportive. Although most ex-prisoners go back to their families, they face coercive interpersonal relationships. In addition, most of them do not get the needed support from the larger society due to the stigma of prison record. The negative perceptions of the public on prisoners have remained static and these reinforce the stigmatized identities of ex-offenders in Ghana. As a consequence, most ex-offenders lack legitimate support from micro and macro sources. The lack of civic engagement in conventional activities prevents ex-offenders from having a meaningful interactions with v pro-social others and build new identities. The weak ties to conventional society also imply that informal controls which are critical in criminal desistence also become weak. This produces anger, strain, low self-esteem, lack of self-control and a sense of social rejection. Thus most ex-offenders in Ghana tend to seek support from illegitimate sources by developing the criminal capital, leading to re-offending behaviours. The study recommended a shift of emphasis in penal policy reforms from punitive to rehabilitative measures so as to hold governments responsible for financing rehabilitation in Ghana prisons. Further, ex-offenders should be re-engaged in civic activities to enhance their acceptance back into their communities in Ghana. 

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ANTWI, A (2021). Social Integration of Offenders And Recidivism in Ghana. Afribary. Retrieved from

MLA 8th

ANTWI, ALEX "Social Integration of Offenders And Recidivism in Ghana" Afribary. Afribary, 08 Apr. 2021, Accessed 12 Jul. 2024.


ANTWI, ALEX . "Social Integration of Offenders And Recidivism in Ghana". Afribary, Afribary, 08 Apr. 2021. Web. 12 Jul. 2024. < >.


ANTWI, ALEX . "Social Integration of Offenders And Recidivism in Ghana" Afribary (2021). Accessed July 12, 2024.

Document Details
ALEX ANTWI Field: Sociology Type: Thesis 283 PAGES (76148 WORDS) (pdf)