Exploring diversion programmes for youth in conflict with the law : case studies of the Youth Empowerment Scheme Programme at NICRO, Durban, South Africa.
Ntuli, Precious Nolwazi.
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The high level of crime in South Africa remains a concern. More particularly, crime that involves youth offenders puts them at high risk of becoming involved with the criminal justice system. Although some studies showed that diversion programmes succeed in reducing re-offending, some showed that these programmes had no impact, and some showed that they had a negative impact. Despite some success in reducing crime among youth who were in conflict with the law by means of rehabilitating them in diversion programmes, some youth find it difficult to live their lives in harmony with the behavioural norms of their society and they are often tempted to deviate due to their circumstances. Even though much work has been done in recent years through diversion programmes and although efforts have been made to determine the effectiveness of diversion programmes, an illumination of the perspectives and understanding of youth is limited in the literature. Therefore, this study engaged in an explorative research process in order to provide a detailed description of youths’ understanding of their own criminal behaviour after completing the Youth Empowerment Scheme programme. The study also aimed at and was able to identify factors that contributed to the criminal behaviour of young people in the South African society.