oa Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa - The maximum length of imprisonment imposed by South African courts after the constitutional abolition of the death penalty : a comparative note on the position in the United States of America
There are many reasons for discussing the maximum length of imprisonment in South Africa today. The abolition of the death penalty in the light of the new South African Constitution by the new Constitutional Court has led to a reassessment of the maximum length of imprisonment in South Africa where, until fairly recently, imprisonment in excess of twenty-five years was as a matter of sentencing principle, imposed only in cases of exceptional gravity. Further reasons for this reassessment and the imposition of longer sentences, are the courts' reaction to what is perceived as an increase in violent crime, and a crime wave that is sweeping the country.
It has been stated that the 'development of our law in this regard (ie the imposition of longer sentences than in the past) is not yet complete, but it can only be hoped that our penal system will not follow the American example in this regard'.
To enable one to agree or disagree with this statement it is necessary to examine the 'American example.'
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