Criminal sanctions: does imprisonment strategy reduce crimes?

  • A. U. Akpan


Careful reading of the literature on psychology of criminal conduct and of prior reviews of studies of treatment effects suggested that neither criminal sanctioning without provision of rehabilitative treatment will succeed in reducing recidivism. What works, in our views, is the delivery of appropriate correctional treatment, and appropriate treatment reflects the idea of targeting criminogenic needs. This principle was applied to studies of adult criminal treatment among both Lagos and Enugu prisoners that summarized the magnitude and direction of the impact of treatment on recidivism. The effect of appropriate correctional treatment (mean phi = .30) was significantly (P<.05) greater than that of unspecified punishments given in prisons (- .06) and non-correctional criminal sanctioning (- .07). Hence, there are solid reasons to focus in ethical and humane ways on offenders and the quality of correctional treatments that will reduce recidivism. Keywords: Imprisonment, Sanctions, Crimes, Rehabilitation, Recidivism.

(Global Journal of Social Sciences: 2003 2 (1): 27-32)

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eISSN: 1596-6216