Die getuienis en vonnisaanbeveling van die proefbeampte in voorvonnisondersoeke vir jeugdige oortreders
Growing demands are placed on probation officers to act as sources of information during adjudication processes and to provide the criminal courts in South Africa with appropriate sentence options for juvenile offenders in the context of the present juvenile crime situation, participatory law and reform in the South African welfare and legal system. In this study the role of the probation officer in the sentencing of juvenile offenders was evaluated during 1999 by magistrates in the Cape Peninsula. The advisory and executive role of probation officers in criminal courts were confirmed. In addition to knowledge of forensic social work, probation officers need to have legal knowledge. In determining sentence recommendations, they need to take into account the same aspects as judicial officials and apply the principles upon which the allotment of punishment is based. The sentence recommendation is a result of the conclusions of the pre-sentence investigation and the expert opinion of the probation officer about this. However, probation officers should not take their status as expert witnesses in criminal courts for granted. Before they are allowed to act as expert witnesses in criminal courts, probation officers need to be declared as such by courts as well as meet other requirements.