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Diversion as an Option for Certain Offenders: The View of Programme Participants Diverted During the Hatfield Court Pilot Project

NCJ Number
Acta Criminologica Volume: 19 Issue: 1 Dated: 2006 Pages: 102-114
L. Davis; M. Busby
Date Published
13 pages
This paper presents the results of an exploratory study on the effectiveness of the Hatfield Offense Court pilot project which utilized diversion as a punishment option for certain crimes in the Hatfield area.
Diversion programs, like those put in place by the Hatfield Offense Court, are known to reduce the workload of the courts and prosecution services. Feedback from those diverted by the Hatfield Court was positive with most of the research participants verbalizing a positive personal change after participating in the programs. It is clear that these diversion programs are aimed at encouraging youths in conflict with the law, as well as first and certain offenders to become constructive, contributing citizens. Since this was a preliminary study, a large-scale study is recommended. Diversion initiatives have been practiced since the early 1990s in South Africa. However, substantial growth has been noted in the number of children referred to diversion programs since 1996. The main objective of these diversion programs is to channel certain offenders, especially young people, away from the criminal justice system on certain conditions. Utilizing telephone interviews conducted with 40 youths who had been in conflict with the law and had been diverted by the Hatfield Court, this study sought to determine their views on the diversion programs that they had participated in, as well as the personal value the programs had. Tables, references