Source: (-0001) Acta Criminologica. 20(2):138-153.
This paper briefly reviews the development of restorative justice in South Africa, discusses important aspects of restorative justice case referral and United Nations guidelines, and profiles cases referred to the Restorative Justice Center (RJC) in the Tshwane Metropolitan area to determine any problems and assess whether South Africa is in line with international practice. Restorative justice has become an important component of mainstream criminal justice in Western countries since the 1990s. Although South Africa has made some progress since restorative justice was initiated in 1992, it was found that only a limited number of cases, mostly crimes against the person and violent crimes were referred to restorative justice independently or by the courts in the Tshwane Metropolitan area during the period under research. Most cases were referred at the pretrial level (87.14 percent) while restorative justice was seldom used during the sentencing and post-sentencing phase. South Africa appears to use restorative justice mostly for cases where the victim and offender know each other in line with traditional African custom. In addition, it was found that the profile of referred cases was predominantly, in line with international practice in that most offenders were male while victims were largely female, and that most victims and offenders were under the age of 35. In regards to the restorative justice process, it was found that of the mediated cases where an agreement was reached, 67.34 percent were successful; also in line with international trends. After a review of the findings, several recommendations were made for consideration. This paper focuses on the development of restorative justice in South Africa and cases appropriate to restorative justice in terms of international trends. An analysis of cases referred to restorative justice in the Tshwane Metropolitan area is made and compared to international and national research findings.(abstract courtesy of the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, www.ncjrs.gov).
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