Pursuing the Horizon of Penal Abolition in Seth Kwame Boateng’s Documentaries


Two recent documentaries by award-winning journalist Seth Kwame Boateng, Locked and Forgotten (2015) and Left to Rot (2016), have played an important role in recent Ghanaian prison reform efforts. This paper identifies the ways these documentaries extend beyond a reformist agenda and move towards a more radical vision of penal abolition. By creating a dialogue between Boateng’s documentaries and the analyses and frameworks of penal abolitionism, this paper calls for a remapping of global abolitionist discourse to include critiques of ‘criminal justice’ that are articulated in diverse geographical, cultural and rhetorical locations.

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Published: 2019-02-18
Pages:116 to 130
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How to Cite
Asare, A. A. (2019) “Pursuing the Horizon of Penal Abolition in Seth Kwame Boateng’s Documentaries”, International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, 8(1), pp. 116-130. doi: 10.5204/ijcjsd.v8i1.1018.

Author Biography

Stony Brook University
 United States

Dr. Abena Ampofoa Asare is Assistant Professor of Africana Studies and History at Stony Brook University. Her research and writing span questions of human rights, citizenship and transformative justice in Africa and the African diaspora. She is the author of Truth Without Reconciliation: a Human Rights History of Ghana (University of Pennsylvania, 2018) and is a Scholar-in-Residence at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in 2018-2019. Learn more at https://abenaasare.net