Source: (1997) Urban Childhood Conference, Trondheim, Norway. Session 4.3: Children Out of Place. University of Cape Town, Institute of Criminology.

In this 1997 paper, Schärf details the history of gang activity and youth militarization in South Africa. He also explains how the new democracy and opening to ideas provide an opportunity for the government and civil society to help these young people become positive and productive members of society. He first suggests the use of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission format to air the crimes committed by gangs, to seek understanding and apology, and to open spaces in society for gang members to change. Schärf also suggests the use of restorative justice processes to aid with this demilitarization of youth. He suggests the adoption of Family Group Conferences and Sentencing circles as methods of re-integrating the youth. He goes a step further by suggesting that the Family Group Conferences become a type of support group with periodic meetings to encourage positive activity on the part of the youth. In essence, Schärf calls for experiments testing the restorative process that have aided his country thus far.


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