n Institute for Security Studies Monographs - Child Justice in South Africa




It is important to understand the history of juvenile justice in order to contextualise current developments. Sociologist Ellen Key (1909), writing just over a hundred years ago, predicted that the 20th century would be the 'century of the child'. She was writing at the end of a century during which welfare-oriented individuals and organisations had founded houses of refuge and reformatories to which children could be referred instead of being sent to prison or deported. Also during the 19th century, a juvenile probation system was developed in Massachusetts, and by 1891 criminal courts in that state were required to appoint probation officers (employed by the courts) in juvenile cases.


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