Child Justice Act : Child And Youth Care Centers Or Prisons

Decent Essays

In South Africa, there are two avenues for residential youth confinement: child and youth care centers or prisons. The former provides support services for youth with varying needs such as children with substance abuse problems, children living in overcrowded homes and so on. This is as a temporary measure and is only advocated as a measure of last resort. In prisons, a child under the age of 14 is ineligible to serve a prison sentence and can only serve the minimum amount of time as deemed necessary by the judge; this is in stark contrast to the United States juvenile system where there is variation in the age limits, which depends on the state lines. North Carolina’s minimum age is at 6-years; others use the age of seven with a majority using the age of seventeen. Juvenile supervision can be further extended its jurisdiction for individuals who were tried under a juvenile system well into their twenties.
The South African Child Justice Act prescribes four categories under which sentencing may occur: community-based, restorative, correctional supervision and custody. The act allows some leeway in terms of justice served allowing prosecutors to divert youth to another category if deemed necessary, a judge can dismiss cases during the preliminary stage, making restorative and rehabilitative justice a key component in the justice system. On the other hand, the United States attempts to ‘crack down’ on serious offenders or repeat offenders. The Supreme Court upheld the death

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