Khulisa has been at the forefront of Restorative Justice processes in South Africa since the organisation’s inception, and the ethos of this work now underpins the development of all our programmes. Our approach is holistic and integrated, combining community development, rehabilitation and reintegration programmes with mediation, peacemaking and conflict resolution processes. Our Restorative Justice efforts in South Africa have dealt with family and neighbourhood disputes through to serious violent crime. Programmes and initiatives have been delivered in prisons and community settings.
In its pilot phase the programme was initiated in the Kwazulu Natal Midlands from 2006 to July 2007. Facilitated dialogue brought together victims and offenders, offenders and their families, victim’s families and offenders’ families, offenders and their communities and numerous other combinations.
A successful community pilot near Durban won Khulisa substantial European Union funding to replicate the programme in other parts of South Africa.
Restorative Justice is a philosophical approach for responding to crime. Its primary concern is the repair of harm caused by a criminal act or wrongdoing– including the harm that ripples out to affect secondary victims, families, and communities – and an offender’s obligation to make amends for that harm. Restorative processes bring together those who have a stake in a particular offence to collectively and collaboratively identify harms, needs and obligations in order to heal and put things as right as possible. These processes include victim-offender mediation, community conferencing and circles.
Benefits of Restorative Justice:
Victims benefit from...
- Telling the full story of how the wrongdoing has affected them
- Expressing their anger and pain directly to the person responsible
- Feeling more powerful and in control of life
- The opportunity to receive restitution for damage and losses
- Getting answers to questions about the crime and why it occurred
- Putting a face to the person who committed the crime
- Seeing genuine remorse in the offender
- Decreased fear as a result of seeing the offender as a person
- Experiencing closure
Offenders benefit from...
- Seeing the human costs of his/her crime
- Expressing their repentance
- Taking responsibility for their actions
- Participating in decisions about how to make things right
- The self-respect that comes from making amends
- Decreased fear of retaliation
- Experiencing closure
Communities benefit from...
- A greater sense of connection amongst people
- Involvement in solving problems related to crime
- Community building, as they implement solutions
- Stronger and healthier communities in the long term
- Decreased fear of crime
- Being better understood by community members
- Having practical alternatives to incarceration
- Having an alternative place to deal with difficult cases
- Reduce demand on probation officers and courts
- Lower caseloads from reduced recidivism
- Potentially lower court/probation costs