In South Africa, NICRO started diversion programs in the 1990's which were mainly
diversion programs for children in South Africa. NICRO later expanded their programs to
include adult offenders. In 1993 the TRC was established to apply restorative justice to
crimes committed during the apartheid era.122 In 1996 family group conferencing project
which catered mainly adult offenders was piloted in Gauteng areas.123
In 1999 the Restorative Justice Centre with other organizations launched victim-offender
conferencing pilot project in all provinces. This pilot project was found to be very
effective although in some provinces probation officers reported that they were
disadvantaged by the poor level of understanding of restorative justice among both their
supervisors, prosecutors and magistrates. South Africa does not have restorative justice
legislation for adult offenders the only legislation is the Child Justice Act which was
enacted with provisions to entrench the notion of restorative justice with regard to youth.
However, restorative justice for adult offenders in South Africa has shown to be growing.
South African courts suffused sentencing with restorative justice thinking.
Canada was the birthplace of restorative justice in North America where victim-offender
mediation was developed in 1974, more than 15 years before South Africa started their
victim-offender mediation program. Although this victim-offender mediation program in
Canada accommodated mainly young offenders, sentencing circles were set up in the
early 1990's which have been used in cases involving a variety of crimes committed by
both juvenile and adult offenders. These sentencing circles have demonstrated positive
results in assisting victims and offenders find closure and healing in the aftermath of
crime. In 1996, the sentencing principles in the Criminal Code of Canada were amended
to encourage a focus on restorative elements. It lays the framework for restorative justice in all adult sentencing. In 2011 Canada launched the Integrated Adult Restorative
Justice Pilot Project for adult offenders.
In 2015 Canada introduced Restorative Justice Act. Both the Restorative Justice Act and
the Criminal Code provides for greater availability of restorative justice to both adult and
young offenders. While restorative justice for adult offenders in South Africa has shown
to be growing, Canada is a world leader in restorative justice both for adult and young
offenders. There are currently about 70 different restorative programs available for youth
and adult offenders in Canada.
New Zealand introduced the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act which
establishes family group conferences as the preferred means of dealing with juveniles
as opposed to courts. Adult restorative processes were undertaken through family group
conferences. From 2000 a number of pilot programs for adult offenders were established
and had grown to nineteen.
New Zealand's restorative justice practices for adult offenders were at the same level
with the practices in South Africa until in 2002 when the New Zealand government
enshrined restorative justice processes in legislation for adult offenders. It has now left
South Africa behind.
The England and Wales governments have taken restorative justice seriously and as a
result, to imbed the use of restorative justice within the criminal justice system, it has
produced an Action Plan to develop the use of restorative justice; it introduced presentence
restorative justice through the Crime and Courts Act 2013; it included
restorative justice for the first time in the revised Victims Code which came into force on
10 December 2013. The main reason was to raise awareness of restorative justice
amongst victims of crime.
Mini Dissertation (LLM)--University of Pretoria, 2017.