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- Volume 16, Issue 1, 2003
Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Volume 16, Issue 1, 2003
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Volume 16, Issue 1, 2003
Source: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 16 (2003)More Less
The school plays a central role in the socialisation of a child and it is critical that schools offer a safe environment in which learning and growth can take place. Violence "contaminates" the school environment and jeopardises the educational process. Crime and violence in schools are therefore matters of significant public concern. Although the perception of risk is often greater than reality, many schools face serious problems.
Attitudes of correctional care workers pertaining to their conditions of employment : a comparative studySource: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 16, pp 1 –13 (2003)More Less
This article grew out of discussions on the differences between American and South African youth institutions. A seminal work entitled Organization for treatment : A comparative study of institutions for delinquents (1966) was published by Street, Vinter and Perrow. Street et al (1966) evaluated the success or failure of establishments that attempt to change the behavior of young incapacitated offenders and to prepare them for participation in the larger society. The W J Maxey Training School at Whitmore Lake, Michigan, USA, and the Emthonjeni Youth Development Centre (youth prison) at the Department of Correctional Services' Baviaanspoort Management Area on the outskirts of Pretoria, South Africa, were selected for the purposes of a comparative research project. In the interests of limiting the scope of the present study, the researchers focused on the personnel employed at the two institutions in terms of their attitudes towards conditions of employment.
A substantial proportion of the research group agreed with the view that less attention should be paid to the young offenders and that the working conditions of the staff required more attention. Therefore, a significant proportion of the research group seems to be dissatisfied with their working conditions which would inevitably impact negatively on their reciprocal working relationships and their relationships with the young offenders. It appears as if 10,3% of the Maxey respondents, as well as an average of a further 22,7% of respondents from both institutions were already existentially estranged from their occupational milieu while a real danger exists that 43% of the research group are apparently disillusioned with their chosen careers and occupational progress. This would, in all probability, lead to an inability to maintain occupational values and unsatisfactory relations with their superiors, colleagues and young offenders under their care.
Author Brian StoutSource: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 16, pp 14 –20 (2003)More Less
Child abuse in South Africa has come to national attention in the last few years and one particular group of offenders that is receiving attention is children who commit sexual offences. The needs of this group of children have been discussed as part of the debate leading to the introduction of the Child Justice Bill, and there are two high profile programmes in South Africa offering services to adolescent sex offenders namely Childline in KwaZulu-Natal and SAYStOP, which originated in the Western Cape. Practitioners and professionals working with this group of young people recognise the need for a consistent and co-ordinated national strategy. This article argues that the development of a national programme or a universal approach should be grounded in research and based on effective practice principles. The article discusses the nature and prevalence of children committing sexual offences in South Africa and argues that there is a particular culture of sexual violence which leads to girls being at risk from their peers and a total extent of sexual offending by children that is much greater than that reported or that leads to convictions. The article goes on to measure Childline and SAYStOP against effective practice criteria. It discusses to what extent the two organisations match intervention against risk classification; whether they target criminogenic needs; whether their interventions match the learning styles of offenders and use a variety of methods; whether they are based in the community and whether they are able to meet the exacting standards of programme integrity. Both organisations meet many of these criteria and the article concludes with three recommendations for taking forward work with this group of children in South Africa. Firstly, it is recommended that the effective practice criteria be researched in South Africa rather than being uncritically assumed to be relevant. Secondly, the inability or unwillingness to supervise high-risk young people in the community is questioned. Thirdly, the article recommends that an important first step in developing a national, systematic approach to working with children who commit sexual offences is to conduct baseline research.
Prevalence of traumatic events and post-traumatic stress symptoms among taxi drivers and passengers in South AfricaAuthor Karl PeltzerSource: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 16, pp 21 –26 (2003)More Less
The aim of the study was to investigate the prevalence of traumatic events and posttraumatic stress symptoms among taxi drivers and passengers in South Africa.
The sample consisted of 128 (male) taxi drivers and 127 taxi passengers (58 male=MP and 69 female=FP), in the age range from 18 to 65 years (M=32.5 years, SD=9.1), chosen by convenience at taxi ranks in the Polokwane Mankweng area in the Limpopo Province.
Results indicated that the mean trauma events experienced was 3.24 (SD=1.8). The two major traumatic events experienced were witnessing serious injury or death and physical assault. Almost a third of the taxi drivers and 15 percent of the taxi passengers (20% men and 10% women) had experienced a serious accident.
There were no significant differences regarding the number of trauma events experienced between taxi drivers and taxi passengers.
However, men reported to have experienced significantly more traumatic events than women. PTSD symptoms were found to be associated with the number of traumatic events experienced, being female, having suffered from a physical injury during the event, and life threat during the traumatic event. A current PTSD rate of 8, 2 percent was found among the total sample.
The major traumatic events experienced in this group with PTSD were physical assault with weapon, followed by serious accident, physical assault without weapon, witness to serious injury or death, serious physical injury and adult sexual assault. In this community sample of taxi drivers and passengers, a high rate of traumatic events and also PTSD was experienced, which calls for preventive measures and primary care.
Source: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 16, pp 27 –39 (2003)More Less
As learners enter school, the degree to which they encounter and handle conflict is an important determinant of their personal adjustment, classroom participation and ultimately, school achievement. Escalating rates of violence in schools in South Africa and the USA are detrimentally effecting the healthy growth and development of youth. There is evidence to suggest that interventions in the lives of young people may help reduce violence (Elliot, Hamburg & Williams 1998). Evaluations of different programmes related to discipline and behaviour show that in classrooms where conflict is handled effectively teachers report less stress in the classroom, more time to handle academic concerns, and a greater capacity of learners to peacefully solve conflicts in the future. Understanding and using conflict mediation skills, learners can be prepared in school for future conflict situations and the prevention of violence in the society.
The role of the mediator and knowledge about effective intervention between peers in schools reveal a critical need for preventive programmes. Conflict, though acknowledged as a natural human event, presents a challenge to the safe and orderly learning environment that should exist within schools. Aggressive and/or violent behaviour may result when learners mismanage their conflicts with each other or with teachers or with other authority figures. Middle school (ages 6 -11) is perhaps the stage of childhood development that is least explored for its potential in respect of youth violence prevention. This study identifies peer situations in elementary schools and targets a method for conflict resolution that can be used by schools with a view to equipping learners to become responsible citizens. Classroom assistants were trained to teach the foundation skills which are necessary to change attitudes and levels of understanding as learned cognitive strategies for peer intervention. Findings indicate that training of learners and the increased use of integrated cognitive strategies maximise the development of peer negotiation skills among elementary school learners, while disputes are resolved in more effective ways.
Author Dawie SwartSource: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 16, pp 40 –44 (2003)More Less
One of the most difficult crime problems with which the government, police and South African community are confronted is the ever-increasing number of attacks on farms and small holdings. The reason for these attacks is unclear and the research being done provides divergent explanations.
The concept "farm attack" is a comprehensive concept which covers various actions which are directed at causing damage and pain to farmers and their dependants, workers, property and possessions. A farm attack is a situation in which the inhabitants of a farm are physically attacked with a specific objective in mind. This objective may be to murder, rape, rob or to inflict physical harm.
Statistics show that since 1991 there have been nearly 5 000 farm attacks in which more than 900 farmers have been killed. Between 1997 and 2000, farm attacks in Gauteng increased by nearly 600 percent. In 2001 there have been 100 victims in 800 attacks.
The dynamics of farm attacks are much more complicated than is usually believed. Although many farm attacks may be of a criminal nature and are often ascribed to existing socio-economic conditions, particularly in rural areas, there are certain trends and patterns which point to particular internal motives. Those who try to ascribe farm attacks to a single cause are simplyfing and underestimating the complexity of the problem.
It is clear that there are a variety of different opinions regarding and research findings on the causes of farm attacks and that it would be extremely naive to attempt to explain the phenomenon on the basis of one particular criminological theory.
For the purpose of this discussion farm attacks will be looked at from both the perspective of the conflict theory and the anomie theory.
Investigating the applicability of the "hue and cry" requirement within the framework of psychological testimony regarding criminal sexual behaviourSource: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 16, pp 45 –62 (2003)More Less
The weighing of a victim's complaint and testimony concerning criminal sexual behaviour in order to converge the onus of proof in criminal matters with expert psychological testimony, is investigated.
A relevant literature review was undertaken of both a number of primary and secondary scientific sources. These sources are viewed as narratives, and the approach is regarded as an alternative method of research to experimental methods. A number of discourses (court cases) are also analysed and summative responses given. Within this approach (discourse analysis), the problem-saturated narratives are analysed and put into context. Previously the requirement of "hue and cry" suggested honesty on the victim's side.
Because both judicial and societal systems are subjected to change, the applicability of the "hue and cry" requirement within the framework of psychological testimony regarding criminal sexual behaviour was investigated. It was concluded that psychological evidence of the victim's initial complaint holds no stronger proof than proof of consistency. Psychological testimony regarding a first complaint, as well as particulars of the complaint itself is allowed, for the aim is to prove the victim's consistency.
The fact that the victim's initial complaint or extrajudicial communication to the psychologist and his/her testimony during the trial reveal consistency, is relevant to credibility. Psychological testimony regarding such a complaint or extra-judicial statement does not prove the contents of the complaint or statement, and it does not in any way substantiate the victim's testimony.
Author Willie CoetzeeSource: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 16, pp 63 –71 (2003)More Less
The findings of the Jali Commission on Conditions in South African Prisons, and particularly the Grootvlei scandal, awake everyone all to the reality that ethics is being seriously undermined and denied the South African prison practice. It changed the face of a once proud and dignified South African Department of Correctional Services into a benighted monstrosity.
Taking the content of the previous paragraph and recent news headlines on conditions in South African prisons into consideration, it is evident that there is an urgent need to speak about ethics in corrections and to endeavour to make it work in South African prisons. The crux of the matter is that we have developed awesome hardware, powerful weapons, thousands of new prisons and a cornucopia of new get-tough legislation, but we have not paid similar detailed attention to ethics.
The fact of the matter is that a correctional environment must have an ethical basis because it deals with people. An ethical basis is something that corresponds to values, norms and standards. Ethics in corrections also determine the correctional official's attitude to work, also known as work ethics. It boils down to principled thinking which takes place when people decide to tell the truth, to respect other's rights and to obey a set of moral guidelines - things which will enable the correctional official to act professionally at all times.
In this article the author strives towards creating an ethical system based on the knowledge, the skills and the attitude needed to act ethically. The intention is to include these in the vision, mission and day-to-day operations of correctional facilities. It represents an effort to create an organisation culture, based on ethical principles, to counteract the fast-growing tentacles of corruption in the South African correctional system.
Source: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 16, pp 72 –81 (2003)More Less
Information obtained via qualitative research often provides valuable representations of the social worlds of both the criminal and the victim of crime. In qualitative research emphasis is placed on individuals' perceptions, attitudes, beliefs, feelings and behaviour as well as the meanings and interpretations that they attach to certain situations. Researchers, who conduct studies within the qualitative tradition, attempt to build a complex, holistic picture, analyse words and report the detailed views of informants. These researchers are instruments of data collection that gather words and analyse them inductively, while focusing on the views, perceptions and experiences of informants. Expressive language is used to explore how respondents see their world, how they define the situation and what it means to them. The emphasis is therefore placed on the qualities of human behaviour and the main aim is to understand phenomena in a particular context. Two criminology studies dealing with marital rape and hijacking in South Africa respectively are the focus of the article. These studies are discussed briefly and the rationale for choosing a qualitative methodology in both cases is discussed. The procedures utilised to substantiate the accuracy of respondents' accounts and ensure consistency, neutrality, credibility as well as confirmability are expounded. In addition, examples are given of important context-specific insights that were gained in the process of understanding the subjective experiential world of both the criminal and the victim in the crime situation. The invaluable contribution of qualitative research in the field of Criminology is also illustrated by incorporating direct quotes to highlight the perspectives of participants. It is argued that by letting the respondents speak, their story is carried through dialogue. In conclusion it is emphasised that the rich, thick and honest descriptions given by respondents and the colourful detail with which they tried to explain and describe the meanings, definitions and symbols they attach to their lives, contributed to the field of Criminology by adding valuable scientific knowledge to this field of study.
Author Sufian Hemed BukururaSource: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 16, pp 82 –93 (2003)More Less
For years overcrowding in prisons has been a problem in many countries. In the past, prison officials could afford to ignore it as being part of the hardship prison inmates were expected to endure in consequence of prison sentences. Today, prison administrators recognise that despite imprisonment, prison inmates enjoy some fundamental rights that have to be protected and respected, and that their welfare needs to be maintained within acceptable levels. These ideals cannot be achieved where prison facilities accommodate more prison inmates than they were established for. Although concerned prison administrators may attempt to deal with the problem within the constraints of their own means and powers, in most cases they choose to draw the attention of their governments to how the problem can be alleviated.
In Namibia, overcrowding in prisons has not reached alarming proportions compared to what it is in some neighbouring countries. Officials in the Namibian Prison Service are concerned, however, not only with imprisonment trends but also the number of awaiting trial prisoners that is currently held in police cells. It is for that reason that the introduction of community service, as a mechanism for dealing with short-term offenders who do not deserve to be sent to prisons, is being considered.
The article seeks to highlight the problem of overcrowding in prisons in some countries (South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe) as a way of sensitising policy makers on the importance of taking the decision before the situation gets out of control. The article briefly examines how perceptions of crime and punishment have changed over time, outlines the causes of prison overcrowding and shows, with statistics, the extent of the problem in selected countries. A case for community service, as an option for short-term imprisonment, is made giving the example of successes achieved in Zimbabwe. The article also highlights on potential limitations that have to be borne in mind, and dealt with, if community service is to succeed.
Source: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 16, pp 94 –107 (2003)More Less
In an earlier article by the same authors [Acta Criminologica 15(3)] the extensive use of the polygraph in the private sector was highlighted. This article has as objective the further illustration of polygraph utilisation in the criminal justice system. Traditionally, the criminal justice system is described as being comprised of the police, courts and corrections; elements so ordered as to reveal the path of deeper penetration into the system. The authors have deviated from this sequence and present the court element last in an attempt to leave the reader with the question of whether the polygraph should be welcomed as friend and ally of the criminal justice system. The article focuses mainly on the polygraph situation in South Africa and the United States. In dealing with police utilisation of the polygraph, the authors illustrate increasing utilisation thereof in the selection of candidate officers, interrogation of suspects and informants, and in combating police perjury. While somewhat limited, correctional use of the polygraph is illustrated with special attention paid to its use as surveillance mechanism for sexual offenders placed on probation or parole. The cautious approach adopted by the court component of the criminal justice system stands central to the article. In this regard, the article does not make any pretensions to being a legal treatise but rather attempts to provoke thought as to the polygraph's evidentiary possibilities on the basis of applying the principles of common sense to its use. In this regard, the inconsistent evolution of the polygraph's evidentiary position is traced through various selected court cases in the United States. The three dominant approaches regarding the admissibility of polygraph testimony today are then presented. In further questioning the caution shown towards polygraph evidence the authors present the results of two studies comparing such evidence to more readily accepted evidence such as fingerprinting, handwriting identification and eyewitness testimony. Furthermore, the results of a number of reliability and validity studies conducted on polygraph use are noted. Lastly, the various objections to polygraph evidence are presented with special comment being made on the quality of polygraphists and their potential as expert witnesses.
Source: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 16, pp 108 –114 (2003)More Less
This paper examines the prevalence of any correlative relationship between intimate violence and substance abuse. At the outset the authors consider the abuser and the use of dependence-producing substances in relation to the abusive conduct. Based on a conspectus of the research, the conclusion is that whilst substance use may be one of the traits demonstrated by a large percentage of abusers, many prohibited substances used are, in fact, less of a root cause of violent interactions than a facilitator and a rationalisation for them. Establishing any general correlative link between intimate violence and drug use is made even more difficult by the fact that the different prohibited substances yield differing psychological effects.
Substance use by victims of violence often begins as a crutch to assist them out of their circumstances of shame and powerlessness. In many instances, the coping skills are characterised by the use of licit drugs like anti-depressants and tranquilisers. However, depending on the continuing environment, licit drugs can (and often are) abused with the patient resorting to more than the prescribed dosage.
In summary, one cannot deny the correlation between alcohol and drug use and the degeneration of the lives of the many women who are victims of abuse. To provide a palliative for the latter, means dealing with the former. In this regard there are various options, including leaving the abusive environment, divorce and damages, a protection order, and applying the provisions of Act 41 of 1971. Each of these possibilities is considered and dismissed.
Finally, the paper contrasts the prohibitionist model of drug rehabilitation with the proposal for a programme of harm reduction. In supporting the latter approach, the authors are persuaded by the argument that harm reduction legitimises treatment goals other than abstinence, which is both difficult to achieve and not in accordance with the immediate intention or want of the patient.
Source: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 16, pp 115 –126 (2003)More Less
This article reflects a learner's perspective on the practical relevancy of Criminology. These perceptions are determined by an evaluation of the perceptions of learners enrolled for a compulsory honours course in Criminological Evaluation and Analysis, offered by the Department of Criminology at the University of South Africa. Respondents were registered as students during 2001 and 2002.
The sample consisted mostly of females, over the age of 33 years, from the white population, and located both in the Gauteng province and the Eastern Cape. The most representative profession among the respondents is that of police officer.
Based on the respondents' personal experience, general knowledge and knowledge on the subject Criminology previously obtained from other criminological courses are an important part of the paper. Learners have to acquire expertise in a working environment and obtained knowledge in the field of Criminology. According to the respondents, the knowledge obtained by studying the paper, can be applied in their working environment regularly or on a daily basis. The assignments were experienced as interesting, challenging and relevant to the South African situation or their occupation. Practical application was emphasised and seems to be more important for the more mature respondent with more life experience.
Respondents indicated the possible professions they foresaw for criminologists in the near future. Although not all professions could be named, a description was provided. This indicated that the possible professions to be filled by criminologists in future are a new and undeveloped field paving the way for the development of specialist degrees or diploma courses to fulfil learners' needs.
Source: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 16, pp 127 –157 (2003)More Less
The aim of this pilot study was to investigate the views of learners regarding certain aspects of bullying.
The sample consisted of 207 learners from six primary and secondary schools in District 4, Tshwane South. Most of the respondents were female learners (53.1%) while males constituted 46.9 percent of the sample. Of the respondents, 30.9 percent were from primary schools (Grade 6 : 15.0% and Grade 7 : 15.9%), and 69.1 percent from secondary schools (23.7% in Grade 11). Most of the respondents were black (59.9%), followed by whites (34.4%), coloureds (3.4%) and Indian (2.43%). The survey was conducted during August / September 2002.
Results indicated that learners generally perceived their schools to be safe places. Bullying appeared to be a reality in the daily life of the participants. Most of the scholars observed milder forms of bullying and the most common location reported for peer victimisation was the playground, followed by the classroom and while walking to and from school.
Approximately half of the respondents had been bullied either once or twice a month or once or twice a year. Direct physical assault among the male learners empasised the view that boys are likely to be more violent and destructive in bullying. There were no significant differences regarding how victims felt about the bullying incident; more or less equal numbers of the learners felt mostly angry, or mostly sad and miserable. Most of the victims had not told anyone about their experiences.
The two reasons most commonly endorsed by learners for peer victimisation were to get even (retaliation) and because bullies want to show how tough they are (showing off). It reflects on an important aspect of peer victimisation, namely that bullying is not always the result of provocation by the victim. Although the current study provides a foundation for understanding the bullying problem, the issue merits more intensive research.
Source: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 16, pp 158 –173 (2003)More Less
Sexual offending is a complex and socially pertinent problem. Often sexual offenders are conditionally released before the end of their sentences and the accurate assessment of their dangerousness has become an aspect on the important agenda of corrections (Porter, Fairweather, Drugge, Hervé, Birt & Boer 2000 : 217). The effectiveness of sexual offenders' treatment is debated even amongst the most prolific and knowledgeable researchers in the area. Some contend that the effects of sex-offender programming are indeterminable, while others maintain that treatment should ideally reduce recidivism (Blanchette 1996 : 17).
Society has a moral obligation to offer treatment to as many sexual offenders as possible, given the catastrophic consequences to innocent victims of sexual reoffenders (Blanchette 1996 : 17-18). Sex offenders who reoffend usually do so against more than one victim, therefore, effectively treating just one sexual offender avoids considerable human suffering.
In South Africa, media fascination and interest in sex crimes and sexual perpetrators has intensified. This is evident from the following newspaper and Internet headlines : "Cape Town pedophiles declines to testify, prefers to just keep on being a scumbag pedophile" (bangedupocon-BANGRAG.html); "Father charged with raping daughters" (The Star, 25 June 2002 : 2); "Brutal rapist of little girl gets 25 years in jail : Child was 'oozing blood' three hours after attack" (The Star, 19 June 2002:5); "Police hunt down Internet paedophiles : Obscene images of children, including babies, seized in worldwide raids" (The Star, 3 July 2002 : 4) and "Baby rape horror in Hillbrow" (The Citizen, 4 November 2002 : 3). The purpose of this article is to analyse the treatment of selected, convicted sex offenders in South African prisons. The nature and the extent of rehabilitation services offered to these offenders are examined and international research on this phenomenon is consulted to serve as a guideline for treatment recommendations in the South African context.