This thesis is the outcome of two years of ethnographic research in Ghana from September 2009 to September 2011 in two confinement sites for child and young offenders. This research contributes a unique empirical approach to the body of knowledge – legal, human rights, criminal justice, and sociology, among others - on children, young people and detainees.
The study incites a perspective of detention life characteristic of Goffman’s total institutions (Goffman 1961). By focusing on detention practice, this thesis conceives prisons from the inside-out and depicts the entanglement of social processes of everyday detention life with the governance of correctional centres. The novelty of this study lies in its moving away from a legalistic approach to engage in an empirical study of prison life, contributing an ethnographic approach to children and young people in detention centres in Africa and the Global South that is almost non- existent.