Source: (2003) Pretoria, South Africa: University of South Africa School of Law.

South Africa is in a state of transition; it is a country on the verge of major political, constitutional, social, and economic changes. The paper discusses one such change: the movement towards a process of diversion in the criminal justice system. Diversion is defined as the disposal of suitable criminal cases in a matter other than traditional prosecution. Methods of diversion may include conditional discharges, simplified procedures, or the decriminalization of certain conduct. The paper explores the emerging methods of diversion in South Africa and discusses issues pertinent to diversion for both juvenile and adult offenders. Next, the principles of restorative justice are reviewed and the South African term Ubuntu is discussed. The paper compares principles of Ubuntu to elements of restorative justice and argues that restorative justice could play a major role in the emerging diversion process in South Africa. The paper outlines how the restorative justice model embodies the principles found in Ubantu by illustrating how both encourage consensus, agreement, and reconciliation. Abstract courtesy of National Criminal Justice Reference Service, www.ncjrs.org.


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