Public Perception of Ex-Convicts Reintegration in Idemili-North Local Government Area of Anambra State, Nigeria

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Onwuchekwe Stanley Ikenna, Ibekwe Christopher Chimaobi, Ezeh Sabastine Sunday, Okpala Franklin Chisom

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Published: 26 September 2023 | Article Type : Research Article

Abstract

The manner in which marginalized members of a society is perceived or treated in social interaction seems to shape their wellbeing and subsequent actions. This paper examined public perception of ex-convicts reintegration in Idemili-North LGA of Anambra State, Nigeria. Desistance and reintegration theories served as theoretical guide. Descriptive survey design and multi-stage sampling techniques were employed. The sample size was 398 adult residents and major instrument of data collection was structured questionnaire. Through the aid of SPSS, data were analysed using descriptive statistics such as frequency distribution, percentages, Likert scale and mean scores, while hypotheses were tested using chi-square (x2) and z-test. The findings revealed among others that residents’ had negative perception about ex-convicts which ranges from being criminals, unrepentant offenders to evildoers. Socio-cultural factors influencing such perception were the belief that once a criminal is always a criminal, that associating with ex-offenders could attract wrath of the gods, societal non-recognition of ex-convicts in social functions, societal silence over the affairs of ex-convicts after their release, and denial of the civic right to vote or hold public offices. This paper concluded that perceptions hold by the people indirectly discredits the efficacy of correctional services given to ex-offenders and portends danger that could lead to recidivism. This brings the need for adequate public sensitization to discourage the perception that ex-prisoners are criminals. This can be centred on the efficacy of the Nigerian Correctional Service programs in rehabilitating ex-prisoners through outreach in villages, markets, churches and even through the media.

Keywords: Ex-convicts, Ex-Offender, Public Perception, Reintegration, Imprisonment.

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Onwuchekwe Stanley Ikenna, Ibekwe Christopher Chimaobi, Ezeh Sabastine Sunday, Okpala Franklin Chisom. (2023-09-26). "Public Perception of Ex-Convicts Reintegration in Idemili-North Local Government Area of Anambra State, Nigeria." *Volume 6*, 1, 15-29