Investigation into guidance and counselling programmes in the Ghanaian prisons: a case study of Kumasi central prison.

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The upsurge of crime and its attendant fear and panic have been a very serious cause of worry among law abiding citizens in Ghana. Recidivism is on the increase as ex-convicts who are expected by the society to be reformed in prison and reintegrated to lead meaningful lives, only return to crime shortly after their release and find themselves back into prison in spite of the harsh punishment and counselling services received while incarcerated. The aims of the study were to identify the Guidance and counselling services offered prisoners in Ghana, adequacy and effectiveness of facilities available under the Guidance and Counselling programmes currently run at the prison; as well as the role monitoring and follow-up services play in the reformation of inmates and to identify whether the Counsellors available in the prison are competent and adequate while noting the extent to which Guidance and Counselling services can assist in reducing crime. The study also aimed to find and document the number of inmates in the Kumasi Central Prison and to analyse and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the guidance and counselling programmes; appraise its effectiveness in the prison and advance possible ways of improving them so as to reduce crime and recidivism in Ghana. The Qualitative research method was used to obtain data which assisted the researcher to conduct in-depth investigation into the types of Guidance and Counselling Services offered in the Ghanaian Prisons. The methodology also aided in identifying the strengths and weaknesses in the Guidance and Counselling services offered prisoners. Furthermore it enhanced the collection of data, making of cogent and logical conclusions and recommendations. Stratified random sampling was used to select the population for the study. The investigation revealed that the major setback in the Guidance and Counselling section of the Ghana Prisons is the lack of competent and adequate professional counsellors in the prison. Further findings indicated that, there are no separate offices for the counsellors or a counselling room available and no privacy is observed during counselling sessions. Besides, the prison is over populated and crowded making it absolutely difficult for counsellors to meet counselling demands of inmates. The public is in the dark as to the activities of the Prison Administration in terms of reformation of prisoners. The Prison Administration is to educate the public through the media about their activities for the public to appreciate their strength and assist in addressing their weaknesses. The Government should make the Prison service attractive to the youth to enable the Prison Administration recruit staff with the requisite professional qualification and knowledge in Guidance and Counselling.
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the Degree of Master of Philosophy in Art Education, 2011