Ghana’s Juvenile Justice System: Assessment of Selected Formal Juvenile Justice Institutions and Agencies

  • Robert Ame Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada
  • Lilian Ayete-Nyampong Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, Accra, Ghana
  • Dzifa Ami Gakpleazi Ashesi University,
Keywords: youth justice, juvenile justice institutions and agencies, Ghana, cultural interference in the justice system, non-governmental organizations


This paper assesses the state of selected formal
institutions and agencies within Ghana’s juvenile justice
system and is part of a larger study that assessed Child
Panels in the country. The study utilized qualitative
research methods involving observation and semistructured interviews. Field work covered a total of 16
districts in four regions of Ghana and a total of 115
respondents were interviewed. The findings expose
the abject sordid state of the institutions and agencies
which reduces them to a state of gross inefficiency and
under-utilization. This paper highlights the fact that
despite numerous studies that have identified similar
challenges, no action has been taken to address them. It
argues that scholars should now move beyond assessing
the efficiency of the system to a focus on exploring
how the system can realistically be transformed in light
of the numerous challenges facing it and the sociopolitical realities in which it operates. It is also a call
to the responsible public authorities to take action to
address the challenges. The findings also show that nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) play a significant
role that complements the work of the formal juvenile
justice system.