Source: (2012) Contemporary Justice Review. 15(1):77-95.

Crime presents a fundamental challenge in South Africa. Particularly disturbing is the prevalence of violence committed by and against young people. The main purpose of this article is to look at how South Africa should deal with the issue of youth violence. It argues that while structural violence constitutes a significant contextual cause of the phenomenon, a more proximate and specific cause lies in young people’s exposure to direct violence in their schools, homes and communities. In many cases, therefore, simply sending young people to prison – where they may experience even greater levels of violence – is not the answer. This article thus examines the potential merits of restorative justice as a response to the problem of youth violence, focusing particularly on the 2009 Child Justice Act. This research is based on fieldwork in South Africa and draws upon both the author’s qualitative interview data and a range of surveys with young people conducted by the Center for Justice and Crime Prevention in Cape Town. (author's abstract)