The Integrated Justice System aims to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the entire criminal justice process by increasing the probability of successful investigation, prosecution, punishment for priority crimes and, ultimately, rehabilitation of offenders. Further issues receiving specific attention include overcrowding in prisons and awaiting-trial prisoner problems, as well as bail, sentencing and plea-bargaining.
Government wants to eliminate duplication of services and programmes at all levels.
The benefits of proper alignment include:
- less duplication of services
- the effective use of scarce and limited resources and skills
- joint strategic planning and a planned approach instead of simply reacting to problems.
The JCPS cluster has structured itself to focus on two main areas of responsibility, namely operational and developmental issues relating to the justice system, and improving the safety and security of citizens.
Children's Act of 2005
The Department of Social Development is the lead department for the implementation of the Children’s Act of 2005. The DoJ&CD’s main responsibility is towards Children’s Court operations relating to the Act.
Embracing information and communication technology (ICT) has allowed the DoJ&CD to extend its reach on modern- day platforms that are more accessible to children, thereby increasing access and engagement with potentially vulnerable or threatened children that would otherwise not have access to the department and, therefore, support and assistence.
The department has developed a child-friendly Frequently Asked Questions link on its website. In addition, the department created an email address, firstname.lastname@example.org, which the public may use to contact the department on issues relating to children.
The Children’s Court is the DoJ&CD’s principal legal mechanism to intervene and assist children who are in need of care and protection. To gather statistics from the children’s courts, the department developed the Children’s Court Monitoring Tool. Data about matters coming to court relating to children in need of care is gathered monthly.
Section 14 of the Children’s Act of 2005 states that every child has the right to bring a matter to the Children’s Court.
This means that every Children’s Court can serve as a direct entry point for a child to seek help and protection. Children’s courts have been rendered highly accessible through the Act.
Child Justice Act of 2008
The Child Justice Act of 2008 promotes and protects the constitutional rights of children in conflict with the law. The Act provides special measures, designed to break the cycle of crime and restore in these children a lifestyle that is law-abiding and productive.
The department established governance structures to ensure the effective intersectoral implementation of the Act. Nine provincial child justice forums are coordinating and monitoring the implementation of the Act at provincial level.
Restorative justice is a response to crime that focuses on the losses suffered by victims by both holding offenders accountable for the harm they have caused and building peace in communities. Restorative justice strategies, programmes and processes in the CJS are in place to try and heal the harm caused by the crime or offence, from a holistic point of view, for the victim, the offender and the community concerned, which will lead towards rebuilding broken relationships and encouraging social justice and social dialogue.
Any restorative justice option is always voluntary for the victim involved. Therefore, such programmes and/or strategies will not be forced upon the victim of any crime or offence.
Alternative dispute resolution is defined as the disposal of disputes outside formal court proceedings. The processes and mechanisms may or may not include the restorative-justice approach.
Source: South Africa Yearbook 2018/19