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n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Correctional officers' perceptions of restorative justice
The contemporary justice model has strong retributive undertones and is closely linked to the notion of just deserts. Since classical times, the seriousness of criminal actions of offenders' culpability has been the underlying philosophy of the justice model. Early classical and neo-classical schools of thought strongly influenced the call for determinate sentences and committal of offenders to correctional institutions, where they can "pay the price" for their deviant actions by serving sentences. The justice model has long been viewed as being inadequate to control crime, because it offers no hope for the future administration of justice.
Postmodern perspectives that actively pursue new paradigm shifts in the administration of justice are convinced that restitution, rather than retribution, would be a more sustainable option to address crime control in multicultural societies; through restorative justice based on acceptance of responsibilities by all role players, repentance, apology, forgiveness and reconciliation can be achieved.
This study empirically evaluates correctional officers' perceptions of certain aspects of restorative justice in seven correctional centers: Qalakabusha, Mtunzini, Eshowe, Ncome, Waterval, Westville and Sevontein in KwaZulu-Natal. Based on judgmental (purposive) sampling procedures, a competent sample of 401 arbitrarily selected respondents, representing all ranks, have been included in the analysis of data.
The sample (N=401), consisting of 65 percent male and 35 percent female respondents, comprises of African (59.4%), white (20.6%), Indian (12.5%) and coloured (7.5%) correctional officers. Restitution, through both victim compensation and community service, received positive support (66.2% and 72.0% respectively). Significant aspects relating to restorative justice have also been positively evaluated: it should, inter alia, be considered a viable option to alleviate prison overcrowding (57.6%) and a significant mechanism at parole board hearings (76.1%).
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