Student Name: Dumisani Francis Mpofu
Student id: 23152176
In South Africa during apartheid era before full democracy was attained in 1994, responses to child incarceration were inhumane as most of the children were subjected to harsh conditions of imprisonment and torture mainly through canning by police officers. Being held in abysmal conditions was a nightmare such that in the 1990s the legal system of South Africa was transformed away from a politically motivated system to a more justice attaining system, which is based on the principle of dignity and the championing of human rights. Through this, over the years various organisations evolved and the greatest achievement of such was the Child Justice Act (75 of 2008) which that is meant to enforce diversion for children between the ages of 7-17 away from the formal Criminal Justice System(CJS) to more punitive options such as rehabilitation. This essay seeks to prove that, diversion is indeed a form of punishment and should be used in cases where appropriate, although its impact is widely debated. 2. Definition of Key Terms
Wood (2003:10) reports diversion as strategies developed in the youth justice system to prevent young people from committing crime or to ensure that they avoid the formal court action and custody if they are arrested and prosecuted. It involves various strategies that include school based crime prevention programs, receiving police caution and other programs such as dispute conflict resolution. Prominent scholars in the field of juvenile delinquency report that punishment is defined in terms of four elements these include first, that it must have some measure of pain or consequences that are unpleasant. It is thus, the legal process whereby violators of criminal law are condemned and sanctioned in accordance with specific legal categories and procedures. It is assumed that punishment will stop offenders from recidivism; it enlightens society of what it disapproves and discourages others from doing the same it also rehabilitates the offender to be integrated back into society as a law abiding citizen. Scholars such as McPherson (1967:78) note that, punishments main objectives are to incapacitate criminals so that they no longer cause unsettlement and fear in society and so they cannot commit no further crime. It is also deterrence for those who are involved or contemplate criminal behaviour. 3. The Child Justice Act
Enacted in 2008 it is meant to establish a criminal justice system for children with diversion as the central point. It notes that children who lack criminal capacity should not be included in the processes of criminal justice system....