Title page for ETD etd-08032012-112945

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Akih, Abraham Kpwegeh
URN etd-08032012-112945
Document Title Prisoners in Cameroon : a pastoral perspective
Degree MA(Theol)
Department Practical Theology
Advisor Name Title
Prof Y Dreyer Supervisor
  • churches
  • alternative sanctions
  • therapy and trauma
  • counseling
  • pastoral care
  • penitentiary system
  • prisoners
  • rehabilitation
  • reformation
Date 2012-04-10
Availability restricted
Prisons in Cameroon are in crisis as far as inmates’ wellbeing, the staffing situation, the justice and penitentiary systems as well as the administration of prisons are concerned. Prisons are obscure places, hidden from public view and society. Prisoners suffer many hardships while in prison. Prisons in Cameroon are not productive in terms of education and life skills.

There is a need for better living standards for inmates and prison officials. Prisons in Cameroon to a large extent are for punishment and not rehabilitation. The aim of this study is to investigate what the churches can contribute to improving the situation. Prison pastoral care could make a difference to the lives of prisoners.

Pastoral care models are perused in order to find a model that would be effective in the specific situation of Cameroon. Such a model could enable churches to contribute to the work of rehabilitation of prisoners and the reform of the prison institution. Pastoral care would challenge the human rights abuses, psychological, sociological, theological and ecclesial problems that face the prison institution in Cameroon.

Chapter one provides background information on pastoral care provided to prisoners in Cameroon. There is scarcity of pastoral presence in most Cameroon prisons. Privatization and effective pastoral care are possible ways of reforming the prison system. The chosen method for gathering data is that of qualitative interviews with inmates, prison officials, clergy, non-governmental organizations and civil society members in Cameroon.

Chapter two investigates the state of prisons, the conditions of prisoners, the prison system and administration. The 2002 Report of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on prisons and detention conditions in Africa constitute a resource for information on Cameroon prisons. The 2007-2008 Report of the National Commission for Human Rights and Freedoms provides further information on Cameroon prisons. The Amnesty International Report of 2011 is another valuable resource for looking at prisons in Cameroon.

Chapter three explores possible alternative sanctions to a prison sentence. These alternatives have the goal of rehabilitating offenders with few inmates be housed in prisons while others are sent to halfway houses. Prison conditions could be improved with the successful implementation of these alternatives.

Chapter four investigates pastoral care with prisoners with a view to gain insights that can be applied to the situation in Cameroon prisons. Campbell’s (1986) pastoral care model, the church as a prison community (Griffith 1993), the Nova Scotia Chaplaincy project (1993), Capps’ (1995) theory of the pastor as agent of hope, Gerkin’s (1997) shepherding model of pastoral care, the Cognitive Behavioural Therapy model of Hall (2003) and the Cotton End Baptist Church pastoral care model (2010) are surveyed.

Chapter five investigates three prison situations in Cameroon: Bamenda, Mbengwi and Ndop. Reasons for imprisonment of inmates, the prison environment and facilities, prisoners’ situation and conditions, the prison system and administration as well as the role the churches play in prison are examined.

Chapter six concludes the study with findings, recommendations and points to prison pastoral care aspects that can be further investigated in future research work.

Copyright © 2011, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Akih, AK 2011, Prisoners in Cameroon : a pastoral perspective, MA(Theol) dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-08032012-112945 / >


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