Making sure no child offender is left behind
From the article by Glynnis Underhill in the Mail and Guardian Online:
South Africa had finally fallen in line with the trend of most other countries, including several in Africa, which, for many years, have had separate laws dealing with child offenders.
"The Child Justice Act is new. In South African law we have never previously had a separate law that sets out how to deal with child offenders," said Ann Skelton, director of the Centre for Child Law at the University of Pretoria and an authority on the subject.
"We have previously had to make do with the Criminal Procedure Act, which is the general criminal justice system for all offenders."
The Child Justice Act has established a criminal justice system for minors that expands on and entrenches the principles of restorative justice in the criminal justice system, Skelton said. It ensures children's responsibility and accountability for crimes they have committed. Skelton applauded the Act for placing an increased emphasis on the effective rehabilitation and reintegration of children to minimise the risk of them reoffending.
More on Restorative Justice at the UN Crime Congress
Day two at the 12th United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice didn’t yield as many comments of restorative justice, but there were some interesting statements made especially by the delegates from South Africa and Peru. On 13 April, the Plenary continued its discussion on Children, Youth, and Crime with more member states as well as non-governmental organisations and independent experts.
Launch of Wentworth Restorative Justice Project in Durban
from the announcement on Imagine Durban:
Khulisa is an award-winning NGO dedicated to preventing crime through promoting rehabilitation, education and reconciliation.
In partnership with the South Durban Basin Area Based Management Programme of Ethekwini Municipality, Khulisa has launched an integrated pilot project aimed at bringing the concepts of restorative justice (RJ) into the Merewent community.
Khulisa helps families and communities support victims who need healing and offenders who want to make amends in order to provide support to the justice system by maximising community participation.
Effects of crime on kids underestimated
...."The significance of this study was to capture unreported cases of crime and victimisation against young people," she said.
Leoschut said the study found that different types of crimes led to distinct forms of post-traumatic stress disorder among youths.
"A lot of them suffer from psychological stress and become more aggressive after being victimised."
'They are not scum'
from the article on iol.co.za:
Churches should speak out strongly when they encountered abuse in prisons, Deputy Minister of Correctional Services Hlengiwe Mkhize said on Monday.
Addressing a Cape Town conference on pastoral care in prisons, she said people of faith of all religions were supposed to be "the moral authority of the most vulnerable".
They had to be vigilant and speak out on violations of the Constitution and the Correctional Services Act.
"We expect the church and other faith-based organisations to take a strong stance when deaths in correctional centres are reported and when offenders are deprived of other rights and privileges such as parole," she said.
Amy Biehl, South Africa and restorative justice
from the UAF news release:
Linda Biehl, co-founder and director of the Amy Biehl Foundation, will give a free lecture at University of Alaska Fairbanks, Wednesday, Sept. 16.
“Restorative Justice” is the topic of the speech. Biehl will talk about her daughter Amy Biehl, who was a Fulbright Scholar studying the role of women and gender rights during South Africa’s transition from its apartheid regime to a free multiracial democracy. Amy was killed in an act of political violence in South Africa in 1993....
Forgiveness and the state
There are so many shootings in major urban areas these days that most have ceased to garner any public attention. An exception occurred last year when an 11 year-old boy taking a piano lesson on a school-day afternoon was shot and paralyzed by a stray bullet from a gas station hold-up attempt across the street—an accident so arbitrary and a victim so clearly innocent that it captured the hearts and attention of the entire Bay Area community. The trial for that crime has just ended here in Oakland, the gunman sentenced to 70 years to life in prison, with the young victim, Christopher Rodriguez, telling him “I forgive you.”
At the Independent Institute’s Gala for Liberty last fall, attendees were entranced listening to Archbishop Desmond Tutu describe South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s trials for the horrific violence conducted under apartheid. At the trials, perpetrators were given the opportunity to stand before their victims (or their survivors) to confess their crimes and ask for forgiveness. As the Archbishop explained, though criticized by some for letting criminals off without “punishment,” the commission in fact delivered “restorative justice:”
South Africa's whites and restorative justice
We hear a lot in the news about racial conflict, and a lot less about racial reconciliation. But from South Africa to South Central Los Angeles, there are communities engaging in what experts call “restorative justice" to resolve the wrongs of the past and present.
New Child Justice Act in South Africa
After six years of debate and reworking, the Child Justice Bill was signed into law by South African president Kgalema Motlanthe on 11 May 2009. In an effort to both humanize the juvenile justice system and to protect the rights of children in conflict with the law, the new legislation raises the minimum age of child offenders and provides for several diversion options.
Sexual Violence Research Initiative's restorative justice page
From the Initiative's website: Across the world, only a tiny proportion of survivors/victims of sexual violence ever see their rapist punished. There is increasing awareness that the requirements of legal proceedings are often in conflict with the needs of sexual violence survivors/victims. Experiences of the adversarial court processes post-sexual violence are often traumatic, requiring the survivor/victim to confront their assailant, to defend their case and re-live the experience.