This morning Prof. Buske lectured to two different groups of students on the same topics as yesterday. We have enjoyed interacting with the students and learning more about South African law and culture. In between classes, we had a brief tour of the courthouses. We noticed the streets were really dirty and covered with litter and piles of trash. Apparently, the municipality workers are on strike, again. The garbage trucks and street sweepers are not running.
Lunch was FABULOUS! We were invited to one of the article clerk’s homes for lunch. His family is Malaysian and his mother prepared a traditional Malaysian feast for us (minus some of the usual spices). She prepared nine dishes for us. Our favorites were the chicken, rice and pasta. His family was incrediably gracious and welcoming.
After lunch, we went to the One Stop Child Justice Centre. It is a multi-disciplinary restortative juvenile justice program which recently won a UNICEF award for excellence. It is a pilot program in Bloemfontein and is expected to be duplicated across all of South Africa in the future.
It really is a one-stop shop. It includes a police station, a holding facility pending the juveniles first court date, a courtroom, social work offices and personnel, long-term residential facilities, schools and various rehabilitative programs. It was quiet impressive. The juveniles are over-whelming male and range from 8-18 years old. The vast majority of the juveniles committed to the long-term residential facility have been convicted of serious crimes; roughly 85-90% have been convicted of rape and murder.
The program is committed to restoritive justice — the juveniles are not locked in cells. Instead, they roam freely in and outside the residential compound. The staff obviously knew the residents and their histories. We talked a little about how juveniles are charged and prosecuted in the States – they were shocked and outraged that the US executed juveniles until the USSC Roper case.
UFS Professor Mariette Reyneke accompanied us to the facility. She and another UFS professor have been conducting a study on the project and we are looking forward to her presentation to our students & faculty when she visits CSL in the fall.
It was another long and interesting day!