Thomas Akoensi

Ph.D Student

Thomas came to Cambridge in 2008 after graduating with a BA in Psychology (First class Honours) and fulfilling his national service duty as a Teaching and Research Assistant at the Department of Psychology, University of Ghana.

At Cambridge, he developed interests in penology and offender rehabilitation, writing his MPhil dissertation on the attitudes of members of the public and criminal justice personnel (police officers, prison officers, judicial service members) towards the rehabilitation of offenders in Ghana.

In 2009, Thomas joined the STARR project team within the Institute of Criminology to conduct further research on what works in reducing reoffending among offenders in Europe with an emphases on juvenile crime, domestic violence and drug and alcohol offenders. This research facilitated the development and strengthening of evidence-based practices among the Ministries of Justice of several European Union member countries.

Thomas’s PhD takes his research a step further to include those key members in offender rehabilitation who are often neglected: prison officers – 'the invisible ghosts of penality'. His PhD focuses on the antecedents of prison officer stress, drawing on observations, interviews and surveys, to explore stress from the perspectives of frontline prison officers in Ghana.

Research Interests

  • Penology
  • Organizational behaviour
  • Legitimacy
  • Comparative Criminology
  • Mixed Methods Research
  • Evidence-based Criminal Justice Policy


  • Koehler, J., Lösel, F., Akoensi, T, & Humphreys, D. (2012). Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis on the Effects of Young Offender Treatment in Europe. Journal of Experimental Criminology. DOI 10.1007/s11292-012-9159-7