Social issues breed crime

Arthur Pillay, Highlands Village

It also believes that the offender also needs assistance and seeks to identify what needs to change to prevent further re-offending.

We seem to have lost the focus of the cause and effect of the high unemployment situation, which leads to gangsterism, house break-in and theft.

I know the end does not justify the means but one really has to analyse the petty crimes committed through substance abuse.

There are many factors that lead to substance abuse, among them young people dropping out of school, inadequate housing, peer pressure and those who just want to be on cloud nine.

The most common of all is the absent father.

They are dissected into categories – single mother where the father has passed-on, the grass widow, when the father frequently works away, on sea maybe, polygamous or customary marriages, where the father has more than one wife, and rotates his sleeping arrangements.

Worst of all is the father, who is at home but seems to be of the opinion that he is the breadwinner, and it is solely the responsibility of the mother to rear and discipline the child.

This should be a joint effort.

The results are petty crime like shoplifting, house break-in and theft just to feed their ongoing drug habit.

Their parents become the first victim as their homes are ransacked due to them being the soft target.

No loving parent would put their son in jail (so) the child plays on his mother’s vulnerability.

Offenders recently released from prison, find it very difficult to find employment, as most of the companies, especially labour brokers or outsourcing companies, refuse to employ anybody with a criminal record.

It’s even worse if you have not matriculated and are blacklisted or have no computer skills.

Integration back into the mainstream of society is quite difficult (and often) the only way out, is to join gangs against their will, where drugs, liquor and stolen merchandise are readily available.

Looking at the annual budget, year after year, the one that get the biggest slice of the pie is the defence force.

We are not at war yet and have not been for years, but new planes, submarines and so on, are being purchased.

The government should empty their jails and send the murderers, rapist and serious assault offenders to the army, where they can practise how to kill the enemy legally and keep our borders safe, and still get paid for it.

Put them into uniform, reward them and reform them.

The values and principles of restorative justice are:

Processes must comply with the rule of law, human rights principles and the rights provided in the South African Constitution.

It must promote the dignity of not only victims, but offenders, and ensure that there is no domination or discrimination.

On application for employment, all parties must be provided with complete information, as to the purpose of the process, their rights within the process, and the possible outcome of the process.

Parties should clearly understand that they may withdraw from the process at any time.

Participation in restorative justice processes must be voluntary for all parties, including victims.

Referral to restorative justice processes is possible at any stage in the criminal justice system, with particular emphasis pre-trial diversion, plea and sentence agreements, pre-sentence process, as part of the sentence and part of the reintegration process, including parole.

Where in the case of a financially disadvantaged offender, who does not or cannot afford a private attorney, Legal Aid lawyer/s should consider the same practices with a plea bargain through restorative justice.

BLOB Research indicates that the offenders, who experience restorative justice interventions, are less likely to re-commit further offences.

BLOB It has greater possibility for restitution, compensation and giving both victim and offender a voice.

BLOB It helps to reduce case backlogs and to prevent unnecessary cost and delay in the criminal justice system, overcrowding in prisons and most certainly reduces the cost to the taxpayer.