SA Crime Quarterly - Volume 2012, Issue 42, 2012
Volumes & issues
Volume 2012, Issue 42, 2012
Author Chandre GouldSource: SA Crime Quarterly 2012 (2012)More Less
Each year there is a brief, but intense period during which South Africans very publicly assess the state of crime in the country. This period of reflection is brought about by the annual release of the police crime statistics. In 2012 the SAPS and the Minister of Police faced intense criticism. There were allegations (as there have been in the past) that the statistics are an inaccurate reflection of the state of crime; but, more importantly, the Minister was criticised for the infrequency of the availability of police crime data. By the time the statistics for the financial year are announced in September of the following year, the figures are, at best, six months out of date.
Source: SA Crime Quarterly 2012, pp 3 –12 (2012)More Less
Every year, the South African Minister of Police releases the crime statistics in September and the SAPS Annual Report shortly thereafter. In this article we draw on an earlier analysis by David Bruce (SACQ 31) that questioned the veracity of the SAPS statistics for inter-personal violence. We show that there remains reason to question the veracity of the assault statistics, and point to other weaknesses in the way in which the statistics are reported. We argue that greater value would be obtained from the crime statistics if reported more frequently than once a year, and if they were disaggregated to a greater degree. The SAPS has a sophisticated and up-to-date system for recording and analysing crime data. This could prove an invaluable source of information for those who seek to better understand and respond to crime in South Africa. However, a long-overdue policy change is needed to ensure that South Africa can make better use of its crime statistics.
Author Hema HargovanSource: SA Crime Quarterly 2012, pp 13 –20 (2012)More Less
An international appraisal of prosecutors' perceptions depicts a uniform tendency for prosecutors to see their role as one of 'presenting evidence in court to get convictions, rather than promoting problem solving'. Many young law graduates dream of a courtroom battle similar to those in popular television series, which tend to glorify the role of the prosecutor in a dramatic depiction of good versus bad. However, reality soon sets in regarding the numerous challenges faced in the criminal justice system. Court backlogs, high case loads, delays in processing huge numbers of remand offenders, and overcrowded correctional facilities plague the system. It is probably within this context that restorative approaches to justice in the pre-trial phase became attractive for the South African prosecutor. This article examines prosecutorial engagement with restorative approaches to justice, and more specifically the KwaZulu-Natal Justice and Restoration Programme.
A powerful tool of justice : paralegals and the provision of affordable and accessible legal servicesAuthor Martin SchonteichSource: SA Crime Quarterly 2012, pp 21 –27 (2012)More Less
In many parts of Africa, a quiet revolution is transforming the delivery of legal assistance to pre-trial detainees and accused persons. Too poor to afford the services of a lawyer, and unable to rely on inadequate - or non-existent - state-funded legal aid systems, many Africans are at the mercy of often oppressive and corrupt criminal justice systems. This is beginning to change as paralegals - who are less expensive and more accessible than lawyers - are empowering the poor and marginalised in their interactions with police, prosecutors, and the courts. In almost two dozen countries across Africa, paralegals are providing a critical service, particularly in the early stages of the criminal justice process. They provide primary legal aid services that often no one else is providing, which in turn results in the elimination of unnecessary pre-trial detention, the speedy processing of cases, diversion of young offenders, and reduction of case backlogs. Some paralegal services also provide food and medical supplies to people in detention. They may also be present at police stations in order to deter ill-treatment and forced confessions. Paralegals play a valuable role in reducing prison overcrowding by locating the family members of pre-trial detainees and facilitating bail hearings. This article gives an overview of paralegal services in a number of African countries, and shows how these services are assisting thousands of pre-trial detainees and accused persons to access justice in environments where legal services are scarce or non-existent.
Prison reforms in Mozambique fail to touch the ground : assessing the experience of pre-trial detainees in MaputoAuthor Tina LorizzoSource: SA Crime Quarterly 2012, pp 29 –38 (2012)More Less
This article presents the findings of research on pre-trial detention in the Mozambique capital city Maputo. Conditions of detention and access to legal representation of a group of pre-trial detainees are analysed within the context of development of the prison system in Mozambique. The research shows that while progress has been made at the legal and institutional level of the prison system, reforms have yet to impact on pre-trial detainees' lives.
"Dip me in chocolate and throw me to the lesbians" : homophobic hate crimes, the state and civil societyAuthor Kerry WilliamsSource: SA Crime Quarterly 2012, pp 39 –46 (2012)More Less
This article describes some of the shortcomings in the prosecution of a homophobic hate crime as well as a non-governmental organisation's attempt to influence the sentencing of the perpetrators. The fact that an NGO believed it was necessary to intervene in a criminal case, was allowed to lead evidence, demonstrated the harmful effects of homophobic hate crimes and made arguments that these effects should be used in aggravation of sentence, suggests that NGOs may take on a new proactive roll in the prosecution of crimes involving some forms of prejudice. The NGO was unsuccessful in that the magistrate ultimately passed a lenient sentence, in the form of correctional supervision. The sentence included a condition that the perpetrators participate in 'awareness programmes of gays and lesbians', conducted by civil society rather than the state. In so doing, the court missed an opportunity to respect, protect, promote and fulfil the rights of gays and lesbians.
Police reform from the bottom up: officers and their unions as agents of change, Monique Marks and David Sklansky (Eds.) : book reviewAuthor Elrena Van der SpuySource: SA Crime Quarterly 2012, pp 47 –49 (2012)More Less
The title of this volume, Police reform from the bottom up, is bound to create expectations amongst those concerned with the challenges confronting institutional change in public police agencies. It is an interest shared by police scholars and practitioners across the usual North-South divide. Few police agencies today can ignore the imperatives for ongoing adaptive 'reforms' in response to changes in the external environment. The notion of reform of course means different things in different contexts. For example, the demand for large scale restructuring of the police (rather than bits of reform here and there) is all the more pressing in the context of state overhaul triggered by processes of democratisation, as in post-conflict settings.