South African Government

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Integrated Justice System (IJS)

Introduction
Child justice
Restorative justice

 

Introduction

This aims to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the entire criminal justice system 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 the 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; and
  • joint strategic planning and a planned approach instead of being reactive.

The Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) Cluster has structured itself to focus on two main areas of responsibility – operational and developmental issues relating to the justice system, and improving the safety and security of citizens.

Child justice

Children's Act of 2005

The Department of Social Development leads the implementation of the Children’s Act of 2005. The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development’s main responsibility is towards the Children’s Court operations relating to the Act.

Embracing information and communication technology has allowed the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development 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 who would otherwise not have access to the department and, consequently, support and assistance.

The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development has developed a child-friendly Frequently Asked Questions link on its website. In addition, the department created an email address, children@justice.gov.za, which the public may use to report issues relating to children. 

The Children’s Court is the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development’s principal legal mechanism to intervene and assist children who need 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 Children’s Courts can serve as direct entry points for a child to seek help and protection. Children’s Courts have been rendered highly accessible through the Act.

Child Justice

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 of Justice and Constitutional Development 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

Restorative justice responds to crime in a way 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 criminal justice system are in place to try and heal the harm caused by crime, from a holistic point of view, for the victim, the offender and the community concerned – with the aim of rebuilding broken relationships and encouraging social justice and social dialogue.

Restorative justice options are always voluntary for victims involved. 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.