n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Diversion as an option for certain offenders : the view of programme participants diverted during the Hatfield Court Pilot Project

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Diversion programmes have been instituted to channel certain offenders, especially young people in conflict with the law, away from the criminal justice system on certain conditions (as stipulated in the Child Justice Bill). The main objective is to prevent these individuals from entering deeper into the criminal justice process by reinforcing their respect for human rights and the fundamental freedom of others and by holding them accountable for their actions. As part of a broader research project focusing on the effectiveness of the Hatfield Offence Court (which was opened in April 2004), an investigation was done with regard to diversion as a punishment option for certain crimes in the Hatfield area. Telephonic interviews were conducted with 40 youths, who had been in conflict with the law and who have been diverted by the Hatfield Court, in order to determine their views on the diversion programmes that they had participated in as well as the personal value thereof. The feedback received was of a positive nature and most of the research participants verbalised a positive personal change after participating in the programmes. Since this study was of an exploratory nature, a large-scale study (in which the utilisation of other measuring instruments should be explored) is recommended.


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