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NCJ Number: 134246 Find in a Library
Title: Development of Penal Policy in British West Africa: Exploring the Colonial Dimension
Journal: International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice  Volume:15  Issue:1 and 2  Dated:(Spring/Fall 1991)  Pages:188-206
Author(s): J A Arthur
Date Published: 1991
Page Count: 19
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper examines the development of penal policy in British West Africa. The primary focus is to assess the extent to which penal policies in West Africa have been influenced by external geo-political and economic factors.
Abstract: The study concludes that traditional pre-colonial West African society had developed a complex system of social control that used nonincarcerative and community-based sanctions and emphasized reparation over retributive justice. British colonization of West Africa changed the familial-based system of punishment with the introduction of a penal system based primarily on incarceration that was designed first, to protect the economic interests of local subsidiaries of British companies doing business in West Africa, and second, to affirm British political hegemony. The introduction of British legal systems was therefore not a direct outcome of rising crime rates in West Africa, but the expediency of trade and the protection of capital. The study noted that Western advances in prison reforms and administration during the 18th and 19th centuries have not greatly affected West African penal practices. (Author abstract)
Main Term(s): Social control
Index Term(s): Africa; Capitalism; Cultural influences; Economic influences; Foreign correctional systems
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