The implementation of a diversion programme for juvenile offenders: Problem areas and 'pitfalls'

Cupido M. ; Kritzinger A. ; van Aswegen F. (2005)


Diversion is currently one of the popular options in attempts to address juvenile crime. As currently practised it often involves restorative justice principles as well as elements of traditional rehabilitation programmes. Restorative justice and diversion programmes have now become accepted in South Africa as an integral part of dealing with young offenders. Based on qualitative research this paper examines the problems and pitfalls experienced in the implementation of one specific diversion programme. Some of the most important problems include lack of communication between officials, sporadic attendance of the programme, lack of commitment to complete assignments, composition of the groups, time constraints on sessions and parents' expectations regarding the goal and outcome of the programme. The main conclusion drawn from this study is that, while the principles of restorative justice and diversion may be attractive in itself, this does not ensure the successful implementation of programmes.

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