Unanticipated Consequences of Imprisonment on Families of Prison Inmates of Kumasi Central Prison of Ghana

Kwadwo Ofori-Dua, Kofi Osei Akuoko, Vincent de Paul Kanwetuu


Prisons in Ghana, like most prisons the world over, are established to keep offenders from society and to try and reform them so that they will become useful citizens. Prisons are considered as crime fighting-devices which govern penal policy. However, there are many social, psychological and financial costs of imprisonment on the spouse and children of the prisoner. For instance, how do the remaining spouses and children cope with the social, psychological and financial problems resulting from incarceration? What social support systems exist in Ghana for the benefit of the families of the incarcerated? These questions and a few others formed the bases for which 25 families of prisoners in the Kumasi Central Prisons were purposively sampled and interviewed to examine the unintended consequences of imprisonment on the families of the incarcerated. The results of the study indicated that the incarceration of family members led to social stigma of the spouses and children, reduction in family fortunes, emotional and psychological trauma, infidelity and family breakdown. Consequently, the spouses and their children resorted to prayers from churches and pastors to cope with the situation, quitting their residences, relocating to cheaper and affordable accommodation and  reducing their expenditure and ‘luxury’ in order to survive, owing to unavailability of social support systems except temporary financial assistance from friends, close relatives and religious organizations. The study made some recommendations.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.11114/ijsss.v3i3.786


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International Journal of Social Science Studies   ISSN 2324-8033 (Print)   ISSN 2324-8041 (Online)

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