n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Doing justice differently : a community-based restorative justice initiative in KwaZulu-Natal

Volume 22, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



Restorative approaches to justice have developed through practice and will probably continue to do so in future. As a consequence, no single notion or theory of restorative justice exists and there is no single process in place (Ashworth, 2002). While the South African criminal justice system has made rapid progress towards mainstreaming restorative justice, the provision of relevant restorative justice services (such victim-offender mediation, victim-offender conferencing and family group conferencing) is largely dependent on non-governmental organisations or service providers (Hargovan, 2008). In a previous edition of this journal, Skelton and Batley (2008), drew attention to the plethora of policies, research initiatives, theorising, critical analyses and emerging restorative justice jurisprudence. They urged South African criminal justice practitioners and researchers to "engage in the discovery of realistic community centred models" (Skelton & Batley, 2008). This article builds forth on that theme and describes the development and implementation of an innovative, uniquely South African model, Khulisa's Justice and Restoration Programme. This programme provides a range of restorative justice services, with a primary focus on alternative methods of dealing with crime, wrong-doing and conflict within the community. The programme receives most of its referrals from the formal criminal justice system (i.e. the Phoenix court). A steady increase in referrals from other sources, such as community members, schools and the police, however, indicates the need for expansion of the programme and the introduction of similar programmes throughout the country.

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