Repository logo

Discourses and practices of diversion : policy and practice of the child justice system.

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Diversion is one of the programmes instituted within the Child Justice System. Its aim is to make punishment more rehabilitative and restorative. Prior to the Child Justice Bill, juvenile offenders were prosecuted under the Criminal Procedure Act (CPA). In the absence of any provision and consideration for children and their context, the CPA proved to be too harsh when prosecuting juvenile offenders. It is within this context that the need for reform of the CPA was sought, a search for procedure which would solely deal with child offenders and which would be more suited to child offenders. In an attempt to explore this process, the present study investigates diversion as a programme designed for dealing with child offenders within the Child Justice System and perspectives of deviance which underlie diversion. Broadly, the focus of the research has been on the following issues: how the probation officers interpret the different criteria from the Child Justice Bill 70 of 2003 and subsequently the Child Justice Bill 70 of 2007 in order to select the most appropriate form of diversion, understanding of the Child Justice System, how this justice system works and what the justice personnel look for when deciding on an appropriate sentence for the juvenile offender. The research was carried out in South Africa, in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, in a small town known as Port Shepstone, which is an hour s drive from Durban. It gives an in - depth analysis of diversion by explaining the perceptions and opinions of justice personnel on diversion. The thesis further explored the criteria that are used by the probation officers in assessing the juvenile offender for diversion and the nature of the diversion programme selected. Using a qualitative approach I sought to explore different discursive practices, opinions and perspectives within the Child Justice System and particularly within the diversion programme. In an attempt to gain understanding on the above issues, I conducted open - ended interviews with Child Justice System personnel, probation officers and prosecutors.



Children--Legal status, laws, etc.--South Africa., Juvenile justice, Administration of--South Africa., Juvenile delinquents--Rehabilitation--South Africa., Theses--Sociology.