Does restorative justice work? An evaluation of the restorative justice programmes of Phoenix Zululand
from the chapter by Geoff Harris:
This chapter provides a case study of a bottom-up restorative justice intervention aimed at encouraging prisoners to take responsibility for their behaviour and at transforming relationships between prisoners and their families. From focus groups and interviews with ex-prisoners and their families, the study found that forgiveness and reconciliation was frequently achieved, a finding which has important implications for the extremely high levels of recidivism in South Africa.
Oscar Pistorius' sentence: A missed opportunity?
from the post by Mike Batley on Restorative Justice Centre in South Africa:
The sentence that Judge Masipa has decided on reflects the careful balancing act required of a diligent sentencing officer. She has taken the calls by the State for direct imprisonment into account but not to the extent the prosecutor wanted; she has taken into account the call by the defence for Oscar to make a contribution to society by not imposing as lengthy a term of imprisonment as she could have....
These are some of the broader dimensions that could have been explored:
Victim-offender service closed
from the announcement from the Restorative Justice Centre:
The Restorative Just Centre (RJC) is appalled and deeply distressed to announce that it has been forced to close its victim offender conference service in Tshwane, as a result of government’s withdrawal of funding. The RJC is the only organisation providing this type of service in Tshwane.
Confronting exclusion: Time for radical reconciliation
from the report by Kim Wale:
The 2013 South African Reconciliation Barometer (henceforth SARB or Reconciliation Barometer) Report pays closer attention to the relationship between reconciliation, inequality and exclusion. It posits that reconciliation becomes difficult when social divisions are the result of unequal power relations that are being perpetuated in society. Reconciliation, exclusion and inequality are intimately tied to one another. More often than not an imbalance in power results in the material, symbolic, political and social exclusion of marginalised sectors of society.
Tending deep wounds
In October, Prison Fellowship South Africa held its last scheduled Sycamore Tree Project® (STP) course for 2013 in Pretoria Women’s Correctional Centre. The 18 prisoners and six victims addressed many issues related to crime and the harm that it causes. For one, the programme offered an opportunity to address the deep wounds of racism and violence from her country’s past.
South Africa: Judging Ubuntu and Africanisation of the Child Justice Act
from the article by Khunou Samuel Freddy on All Africa.com:
The attention for the child justice system in the new South Africa has not only been inspired by the new constitution-based rights of children in conflict with the law, but also international law and the general principles of ubuntu and jurisprudence of African traditional justice.
In compliance with the precepts of international law and the 1996 Constitution, the national parliament promulgated the Child Justice Act 75 of 2008 (CJA) to establish a criminal justice system for children.
The CJA also expands on and entrenches the principles of restorative justice. Previously in South Africa, the Children's Protection Act 25 of 1913 (CJ) was the embodiment of the trend towards child justice. This act permitted the presiding officer to decline to continue with a criminal trial against a child and to then commit the child to a government industrial school.
Parole, release and restorative justice: Minister and National Council for Correctional Services
The meeting provided an opportunity for the Portfolio Committee (PC) to engage with the Minister and the National Council for Correctional Services (NCCS) on matters of parole and release, with particular emphasis on the position of those sentenced to life imprisonment (lifers) and the role of the restorative justice processes.
Activists berate Traditional Courts Bill in South Africa
The controversial Traditional Courts Bill, which its critics say will take the country back to the era of bantustans, is set to come under scrutiny at a series of public hearings in KwaZulu-Natal.
The sponsor of the bill, the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, argues that the legislation seeks to affirm the recognition of traditional justice and its values based on restorative justice and reconciliation.
from the entry by Maanda Ntsandeni on Aljazeera:
....My journey to making Parole Camp began four years ago when a friend, Andrew May, invited me to South Africa's Pollsmoor Prison. Andrew, an American studying for his Masters of Law degree, was running a class on the Restorative Justice System for inmates approaching their release.
Like many South Africans frustrated by the country's soaring crime rates, I was deeply prejudiced towards anybody who had served time in prison - choosing to focus on my belief that they deserved punishment while overlooking the fact that they had served their dues behind bars.
Child Justice Act undercut from within
Even before it began the rocky climb through the parliamentary process, the Child Justice Bill was considered to be internationally path-breaking legislation. It was born in the euphoria of the early 1990s in a country where youth had been considered politically lethal, whipping was a sentence, imprisonment the standard response to wrongdoing and torture considered a legitimate interrogation method.
The new legislation sought to provide restorative justice by diverting child offenders from this punitive justice system and keeping them out of prisons, which simply hardened criminality. It devised ways to work with offenders and victims to restore harmony in the community where the crime took place. Punishment would be tailored to the crime and dealt in a way that maintained the self-respect of the offender as well as the approval of both community and victim.