n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Restorative justice : yesterday, today and tomorrow - making sense of shifting perspectives in crime control and criminal justice in South Africa

Volume 20, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



This article maps theoretical and policy shifts in crime control and criminal justice, and seeks to explain recent 'bewildering' and often 'contradictory' developments in criminal justice. Mandatory sentencing and zero-tolerance policing are the most conspicuous of these, but not far behind is the rise of restorative justice (RJ). In the midst of the 'culture of control', a different response to crime emerged in the 1980s when the 'alternatives to incarceration' perspective coincided with the emergence of the victims' rights movement which questioned the capacity of the criminal justice system to respond to the needs of victims. RJ challenges the view that justice and crime control are the preserve of the criminal justice system and that its goals can be achieved by imprisonment only. Examining critical RJ issues may provide useful insights into the way various countries have adopted aspects of RJ in responses to rising crime rates.

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