The Court and Police Protection of the Rights and Welfare of Juvenile Offenders during Arrest, Detention and Trial in Ghana (Published)
This study sought to explore and describe the practice of juvenile justice administration in Ghana within the context of the spirit and goals of the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), together with other international instruments and principles on the protection and promotion of the rights of youth offenders. It thus aimed at identifying the gap that exists between stated principles and actual practice, and also sensitizes and mobilize the Ghanaian public and government on the need for humane treatment of young offenders in the country. In Ghana, governments have demonstrated the political will in the protection of rights and welfare of its children by being the first country to ratify the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child. Besides, Ghana’s Constitution and other status and regulations of the country protect the rights and welfare of juvenile offenders. Thus, since the 1990s, after the country had returned to constitutional and democratic rule, various mechanisms have been put in place to ensure the promotion and maintenance of basic human rights, especially the right of children in the spirit of the UNCRC. There are, however, circumstances that compromise the enjoyment of these rights and welfare of juvenile offenders in the country. The goal of the study was achieved by carrying out a research in one of the Ghana’s Borstal Institute and Osu Remand Home in Accra, the capital city of Ghana. The study was guided by this research question – How do the court and police protect the rights and welfare of juvenile offenders during arrest, detention and trial in Ghana? Data on the above were collected by employing structured questionnaire, face-to-face in-depth interviews and focus group discussions among a sample size of eighty-four (84). Findings of the study indicated that apart from the detention of juvenile offenders in the same holding cell with adults, and for more than 48 hours, they also face punitive treatments in the hands of the police and the custodial officers during detention and custody. It was also revealed that majority of juvenile offenders were also denied legal representation during trial. On the basis of the findings, this study recommended the need for a holistic approach in fulfilling the contents of all the treaties Ghana has ratified in connection with the protection of the rights and welfare of its juvenile offenders in its juvenile justice administration.