n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Fear for children or fear of children? Child justice bill breaches the divide : editorial

Volume 22, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



Children do not commit the most crimes. The available official statistics reveal the reality that they make up a small number of the offenders committing serious, violent crimes. The number of children in prison, whilst not a clear indicator of crime trends, is the only reliable set of statistics regarding child offenders in South Africa that have been consistently gathered over the past decade. The Report of the Inspecting Judge of Prisons for 2006-2007 revealed that people below the age of 18 years make up 1.28% of the inmates (sentenced and unsentenced) in prison. The number of children being held in prison awaiting trial has been steadily dropping since 1999, and the number of sentenced children is fairly stable, with a slight drop recorded between 2007-2008.

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