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- Volume 16, Issue 5, 2003
Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Volume 16, Issue 5, 2003
Volumes & issues
Volume 16, Issue 5, 2003
Author Johan PrinslooSource: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 16 (2003)More Less
This special edition of Acta Criminologica is sponsored by the Institute for Criminological Sciences, UNISA and comprises of research outputs which are the results of research collaboration between the Institute, the Department of Criminology, and several community stakeholders. Three broad themes form the basis of this special edition, namely restorative justice, drug abuse by young learners in schools in Gauteng, as well as new operational developments pertaining to criminological assessment.
Source: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 16, pp 1 –9 (2003)More Less
Throughout most of human history restorative justice was the dominant criminal justice model, as is evident from the ancient Arab, Greek and Roman civilisations, all of which required compensation for the victim. Restorative justice was also the main focus of various aboriginal communities in Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Historically, African societies also mostly focused on the victims of crime, and restitution and reconciliation was considered as crucial to redress the harm caused by crime.
There has been a refocusing on restorative justice in Western countries since the early 1970s. Criminologists played a leading role in the modern revival of restorative justice by refocusing on the rights and needs of crime victims. It is also evident that South Africa is moving from a retributive to a restorative criminal justice system. It is, therefore, important to ensure that the judiciary becomes actively involved in the development of restorative justice in South Africa, in order to give effect to the government's shift from an offender-centred criminal justice system to a victim-centred restorative justice system as set out in the SA National Crime Prevention Strategy and other government reports as well as recent legal decisions and new draft legislation.
This article reviews the objectives of restorative justice as well as the South African New Sentencing Framework Bill, the Child Justice Bill and the draft Sexual Offences Bill, all of which make provision for restorative justice.
Source: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 16, pp 10 –22 (2003)More Less
The prevailing justice paradigm, which is one of retribution, is based on punishment or the threat of punishment as a means of controlling behaviour. This paradigm is regarded as insufficient as a paradigm for justice and is incomplete if it ignores the social context in which crime occurs. Furthermore, restorative mediation should be seen as an additional justice option and not as an alternative for criminal justice.
Restorative mediation can be applied in a variety of contexts, at both the formal and informal level. At the formal level the criminal justice system can apply restorative mediation at the pretrial process, at the presentencing process, as part of a condition for sentence or in pre-release programmes. At the informal level, restorative mediation can be used to solve corporate conflicts and disputes and to solve a variety of community conflicts (eg bullying in schools, neighbourhood conflicts, family conflicts and interstate conflicts).
Restorative mediation programmes are variously called : victim-offender mediation, family group conferencing, sentencing circles, victim offender panels, diversionary mediation and restorative mediation. We recommend that South Africa follows the Dutch example - that is, that South Africa uses the term "restorative mediation" for all types of victim-offender conferencing.
Restorative justice mediation is implemented differently in different countries and regions and reflects the dominant cultural norms and mores. It is a flexible, transportable paradigm which varies from country to country and from site to site, depending on local needs and customs.
In most countries restorative mediation is normally an adjusted model of traditional forms of restorative justice that have been adapted to suit a specific community through victim-offender mediation, family group conferences and circle sentencing.
Source: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 16, pp 23 –37 (2003)More Less
Restorative mediation is not an alternative form of justice but a valuable addition to the current criminal justice process which can successfully be used for males and females, young and adult offenders, across racial, ethnic and social class groups and for both property and violent crimes. It focuses on caring, dialogue, forgiveness, reconciliation, accountability and reintegration and the community plays a crucial role in the mediation process. However, to ensure the success of restorative mediation it is imperative for criminal justice officials to have adequate knowledge of the philosophy, practices and effectiveness of restorative mediation because they play a crucial role in using it properly to avoid net widening. Mediators therefore need to be properly trained in the aims and objectives of restorative mediation, the guidelines on mediation as well as adequate screening and assessment of the participating parties, and should work according to appropriate ethical guidelines.
It is essential that an appropriate protocol and ethical guidelines be established in South Africa to ensure the success of this important development in the criminal justice process. Mediators should also be properly trained and each agency or individual providing restorative mediation should have a constitution or policy document setting out the objectives of and procedures for restorative mediation.
This article is based mainly on the guidelines and protocols provided by The Netherlands Victim-Offender Mediation Association (NVOM) and the US Centre for Restorative Justice and Peacemaking (CRJP).
Source: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 16, pp 38 –49 (2003)More Less
Personnel of the Restorative Justice Centre (RJC) and the Institute for Criminological Sciences of the University of South Africa (Unisa) formed a research team in July 2001 to plan and execute a research survey; its objective was to assist in creating a greater awareness of restorative justice in general, as well as of its meaning and applications.
A questionnaire was developed to gather factual data and to determine the views (perceptions) of the judiciary with regard to general views of the criminal justice system as well as specific aspects of restorative justice.
The study was confined to the magisterial offices of Pretoria, Pretoria North, Soshanguve, Ga-Rankuwa, Themba and Mamelodi, which represent the main areas in which the RJC renders its services; this makes it reasonably representative of the context in which the RJC operates. Two hundred and five (205) questionnaires were distributed to all prosecutors and magistrates working at the aforementioned magisterial offices to be completed anonymously. Seventy-three (73) questionnaires were returned, which represented a response rate of 35,6%. The data of 69 (94,5%) of these questionnaires could be utilised and was therefore computerised. The actual response rate, therefore, decreased to 33,7%.
This article focuses on the extent of respondents' knowledge of and training received in restorative justice practices, respondents' general views on the criminal justice system, recidivism and the sentencing triad.
Source: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 16, pp 50 –66 (2003)More Less
Members of the Restorative Justice Centre (RJC) and the Institute for Criminological Sciences at the University of South Africa (Unisa) formed a research team in July 2001 to plan and execute a research survey which aimed to raise awareness of restorative justice and its significance and applications.
A questionnaire was developed to gather factual data and to determine the views (perceptions) of the judiciary about general views on the criminal justice system as well as specific points of restorative justice.
The study was limited to the magisterial offices of Pretoria, Pretoria North, Soshanguve, Ga-Rankuwa, Temba and Mamelodi, which represent the main areas in which the RJC renders its services, making it reasonably representative of the context in which the RJC operates. Altogether 205 questionnaires were distributed to all prosecutors and magistrates working at these magisterial offices for their anonymous completion. A total of 73 questionnaires were returned, representing a response rate of 35,6%. Data from 69 (94,5%) of these questionnaires could be utilised and were computerised. Therefore the actual response rate decreased to 33,7%.
This article focuses on the respondents' views of elements and objectives of restorative justice and restorative justice as a sentencing option.
Source: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 16, pp 67 –72 (2003)More Less
As part of an empirical survey about restorative justice, magistrates and prosecutors were asked to indicate the sentences they would recommend/impose for eight crime case scenarios presented to them. It is acknowledged that information concerning the crime itself may not always be comprehensive enough and that, in some instances, more information regarding the offender's background would have been useful for sentencing purposes. In fact, a few magistrates and prosecutors pointed this out.
Diversion includes community service, specific treatment programmes and correctional supervision while restorative mediation refers to family group conferencing and victim-offender mediation. Conditionally suspended cases involving diversion or restorative mediation will be indicated where it was an aspect of the recommended sentence. Cases where the respondents indicated that they were unable to recommend a sentence because they required a probation service report before sentence could be imposed or recommended, were was placed under "other".
This article renders an overview of the respondents' conclusions.
Source: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 16, pp 73 –81 (2003)More Less
The multidisciplinary approach of the Department of Correctional Services in South Africa has to date excluded the comprehensive role to be played by the criminologist in reforming and analysing offenders. This article therefore emphasises the relevancy of criminology in prison management.
Three main areas of Criminology, namely the sociology of law, theories of crime causation and social responses to crime, often overlap and are inseparable parts of explanation and rehabilitation. But Criminology also has limitations which underline how complex and challenging the field of offender assessment and rehabilitation actually is. The solution to overcoming such limitations is twofold: firstly, a multidimensional approach is required and secondly, specialised training of potential criminologists becomes essential. Based on the dual nature of contemporary criminology that encompasses both the professional and the analytical approach, the actual functions of criminologists are outlined.
It is within the framework of these approaches that criminologists in South Africa identified the need for comprehensive assessment. Based on the work done by Cornwell in the UK, the benefits of including the criminologist in the treatment of offenders in South Africa would appear to include a multidisciplinary approach, the availability of criminologists' useful skills and assistance to relieve the workload of psychologists and social workers in overcrowded correctional institutions and the creation of employment opportunities for criminologists.
Although many countries recognise the role of the criminologist in the criminal justice system, South Africa is an exception. But changes are taking place with the Department of Correctional Services increasingly recognising the contributions to be made by criminologists in the assessment of offenders with the aim of rehabilitating and reintegrating offenders back into the community.
Author David J. CornwellSource: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 16, pp 82 –90 (2003)More Less
The management of inmates in custodial correctional establishments is a many-faceted task, carried out on a continuous basis, and requiring the applied skills and competencies of a wide range of professionals. Although fashions in penal policy change over time in response to political ideologies and fiscal imperatives, there remains an underlying assumption that some useful social purpose should be served by the process of imprisonment.
Prisons are complex organisations to manage because of their frequently conflicting requirements to balance security, control and safety with delivery of regimes that provide the potential for inmates to live a law-abiding lifestyle on release from custody. For this principal reason, prisons are best managed on a multi-disciplinary team basis that maximises the use of professional expertise available from correctional officials, psychologists, medical practitioners, educators, social workers, administrators, and, by no means least, criminologists, among others.
It is contended within this paper that the academic discipline of criminology has much to offer to effective prison management, and yet it is under-valued and underused underused in many countries of the world. A number of reasons are advanced for this situation, among which are the traditional conservatism of correctional cultures, and the lack of understanding of criminology as a practical as well as an academic discipline.
Prisons are also potentially volatile and intimidating places because they contain some of the most violent, predatory and dangerous members of our societies on an entirely involuntary basis. Prisons can, however, be made safer places to work and live in if careful attention is paid to the criminal and anti-social characteristics of prisoners, both individually and collectively, actually and potentially. Assessment of criminal dangerousness and prediction of risk (both institutional and public) are perhaps the core forms of expertise that criminologists, more than any other correctional professionals, are able to provide.
Source: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 16, pp 91 –98 (2003)More Less
In South Africa, and specifically in corrections, there has been a shift in thought on the treatment of offenders. This change embraces the concept of rehabilitation and the effective treatment of correctional clients to assist them to become law-abiding citizens. This places an obligation on therapists and society to shift the focus from incarceration to the enhancement of rehabilitation. A major challenge is to ensure that all offenders are positively developed and supported whilst they are incarcerated.
A holistic approach to teamwork and partnerships is necessary to develop and encourage the productive treatment of inmates. This approach could facilitate behavioural change. Pragmatic intervention by multiskilled professionals is necessary to enable, assist and empower offenders to cultivate their total functioning and to optimise their potential. Criminologists can give support to the treatment of offenders by focusing on individual assessments, analysing criminal behaviour, predicting recidivism and threat and development of developing treatment programmes. The use of multiskilled personnel would relieve the intense workload of social workers and psychologists in correction institutions. Therapists should concentrate on and target typical South African factors (such as cultural diversity, illiteracy, unemployment, overcrowded conditions, poverty and corruption) in and outside the prison, to bring about the effective rehabilitation of prisoners.
Source: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 16, pp 99 –110 (2003)More Less
Profiling methods and techniques differ, and the backgrounds of those who practice these methods are equally dissimilar. It is therefore of vital importance to acknowledge that there are different types of profiling, such as criminological/offender profiling (the causes of, motives for and scientific explanation of criminal behaviour), victim profiling (the characteristics of victims), DNA profiling, crime-scene profiling (criminal investigation analysis), profiling for the purposes of rehabilitation / intervention (offender needs and risks, treatment targets), prediction of criminal behaviour and dangerousness (the risk of reoffending), prognosis of the effective treatment and development of offenders (rehabilitation), psychological profiling (personality assessment, behavioural disorders), and geographical profiling (spatial mapping, hunting and offence "grounds") (Godwin 2001:275-279; Hickey 2002:311-316).
There are various misconceptions as far as profiling and the role of profilers are concerned. Turvey (1999:235) comes to the conclusion that profilers do not solve crimes - detectives do. According to him, profilers should only act in an advisory capacity, and it is how profiling is used in any given case that is important to police investigations.
This article covers some of the above-mentioned differences in profiling, focusing on the assessment of criminal behaviour as a core function. The confusion about the concept of profiling in a South African context, the types of profilers and the different scientific backgrounds and professional boundaries make it necessary to distinguish between "hard-evidence" (DNA samples, blood, bullets, clothes) and "soft-evidence" (analysis of criminal behaviour, motives for crime, crime patterns) profiling techniques. The role of the criminologist and a need for a cross-disciplinary approach in profiling are also examined.
Source: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 16, pp 111 –122 (2003)More Less
Criminality is perceived to be a by-product of social and personal conditioning. Individuals who commit crime are mostly people who have been unduly exposed to and influenced by adverse social and personal conditions that lead to criminal behaviour and actions - eventually bringing them into conflict with the law. However, once the cause of criminality is removed, or dealt with through rehabilitation or treatment, criminal behaviour can be eliminated (Alleman & Gido 1998:22; Holtzhausen 2003:22).
Reductions in reoffending are to be found through the design and delivery of intervention services (eg offender assessment, therapeutic intervention), under conditions considered legal, ethical, just, efficient, decent, efficient and normative (Andrews 2001:10). Any intervention should target criminogenic needs, and therapists and service providers should consider offenders' learning styles and characteristics, to match offenders' and therapists' styles (Serin & Kennedy 1997:3).
Custodial interventions require inventions that focus on areas of potential development, in need of improvement and reducing offence behaviour. This is a relevant goal in offender development (Toch 2002:121). Effective corrections require meaningful intervention that entails inter alia, a multidisciplinary offender assessment system (risk/needs assessment), scientific-based rehabilitation programmes, individualised treatment and individualised sentence planning of offenders.
Source: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 16, pp 123 –135 (2003)More Less
Alcohol is the most commonly used drug among young people, surpassing tobacco and illicit drugs. Alcohol is a very powerful, mood altering drug, and its use by teenagers poses very serious health risks, as well as clouding judgement, interfering with the development of social skills and school achievement. For example, research demonstrated that adolescents who abuse alcohol may recall ten percent less of what they have learned than students who do not drink. Moreover, children are beginning to drink at a very young age, sometimes before they have completed primary school. The age at which a person first uses alcohol is a powerful predictor of lifetime alcohol abuse and dependence.
In the first semester of 2000, a structured survey questionnaire was constructed and administered in consultation with members of the Department of Education in Gauteng, Lefase la Rena and learners from District N-3 (now District 4 - Tshwane South) schools in Pretoria. The researchers were able to generate a nonprobability sample by means of the convenience sampling technique consisting of Grade 7, 10 and 11 learners from 35 primary and secondary schools in District 4 - Tshwane South.
The major aims of the study were to identify key concerns regarding tobacco smoking habits, underage drinking and the use of illegal drugs in schools, and to make information available to legitimate and interested stakeholders for the development of problem-solving strategies. The study was exploratory and the purpose was to acquire descriptive information from learners to help schools with the assessment of the underage drinking problem.
Source: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 16, pp 136 –150 (2003)More Less
The purpose of the this research was to provide relevant stakeholders with the information they need to plan effective problem-solving strategies, to compile policies and programmes that will address the problem of drug abuse in South African schools. By doing so, they researchers hope to help create a safe and conducive learning environment. The aim of the survey was to determine the perceptions, the extent to which learners experiment with drugs and the learners' general attitude towards drug usage.
The project comprised a sample of 1980 selected learners from 35 primary and secondary schools from District 4 in Pretoria. These learners were asked to complete the structured questionnaires. The findings of this study indicated that there are significant percentages of learners who are involved in illegal substance abuse. One quarter (24,6%) of the sample had already experimented with inhalants, nearly 22% (21,9) had already smoked cocaine or mandrax, one quarter (27,3%) had previously used other "hard drugs" such as mandrax, ecstasy and LSD, 7,7% had previously injected themselves with illegal substances such as heroin, cocaine and a cocktail of drugs while 16,7% had sniffed cocaine.
Close to one quarter of the respondents believed that taking an illegal drug once would not do them any harm, while almost the same number of respondents believed that it "was fun" to experiment with drugs because of its illegal status. Almost two thirds of the participants stated that people start to take illegal drugs as a result of peer group pressure. An overwhelming majority of the respondents agreed that people who have drug problems should be rehabilitated (helped) rather than punished. The majority of the respondents confirmed the generality and social acceptability of taking drugs as the reason for changed social norms pertaining to drug use as well as to the increased participation in such activities. The majority of the learners also agreed, however, that using a variety of illegal drugs is relatively dangerous; three in ten respondents believed that a person must be under the influence of drugs (on a high) to enjoy a rave party. One in six of the respondents maintained that learners should take steroids to improve their sport performance at school level - a view that was strongly rejected by the greater majority of their counterparts.
Source: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 16, pp 151 –160 (2003)More Less
This is an overview of a school safety project with the general aim of assisting relevant stakeholders to explore a problem-solving strategy for creating a safer schooling environment and one that is more conducive to a culture of teaching and learning. A more specific aim of this survey was to investigate how accessible drugs are to learners. Given the detrimental effects drugs have in society and using the research group's responses, one of the objectives was to determine the extent of current deterrent measures.
The research sample comprised of 1988 learners from 35 primary and secondary schools in District 4 in the Pretoria school area. Most (56, 7%) of the respondents were female, compared with 43, 3 percent male. Learners younger than 17 years of age constituted 54 percent of the research group, while those aged 17 years and older represented 46 percent. Approximately 5 percent (5, 4%) of the respondents were from primary schools and 94, 6 percent from secondary schools. As regards population group, the majority of the respondents were black (41, 7%), followed by whites (37, 9%), Indians (10, 7%) and coloureds (9, 7%).
The results revealed significant levels of difference between the respondents' perceptions and attitudes. The findings of this study indicated that 40 percent of the learners can buy drugs, such as dagga, within a few hours or less, while 30, 1 percent indicated that they can buy dagga within 30 minutes or less. Approximately one quarter (22, 1%) of learners indicated that they can buy "hard" drugs such as LSD, ecstasy, cocaine or heroin within a few hours. Furthermore, one quarter indicated that they know of learners at their school who sell illegal drugs, while 26, 7 percent have actually seen illegal drugs being sold at their schools or inside the school grounds. Another 42, 2 percent of the learners has also personally observed the sale of illegal drugs in their neighbourhood.
Learners older than 16 years of age seem to be more familiar with the illegal drug market and its culture, and appear to have better access to drugs than their younger counterparts. Male respondents appear to be more knowledgeable than female learners about illegal drug activities. Coloured respondents are constantly over represented compared with the other population groups.
The research findings on the extent to which drugs are accessible to learners obviously warrant a national follow-up research project.
Source: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 16, pp 161 –174 (2003)More Less
This paper deals with identifying dagga substance abuse indicators in a group of grade 7, 10 and 11 learners from 35 secondary schools in the N-3 district of Pretoria. The most significant of the predictor variables in the cases of the learners who smoked dagga referred to respondents with friends who also smoked dagga, and could buy dagga within an hour or less than that. Additionally they were cigarette smokers, were not prepared to report the person who used illegal drugs to the school authorities and had personally witnessed the sale of illegal drugs in their neighbourhood. The significant predictors with respect to dagga non-smokers identified them as female individuals who did not associate themselves with dagga-smokers, did not smoke cigarettes and were either unable to buy LSD, ecstasy, cocaine etc. or took a longer period of time if they had to buy these substances.