Application of prescribed minimum sentencing legislation on juvenile offenders in South Africa
Momoti, Bafobekhaya Victor Lizalise
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The detention of juvenile offenders is not encouraged by both the Constitution and a number of international instruments. This right is entrenched in the South African Constitution (section 28(1)(g) ) which provides that every child has the right not to be detained except as a measure of last resort in which case, in addition to the rights a child enjoys under section s12 and 35, the child may be detained only for the shortest appropriate period of time. This Constitutional provision, in clear terms, views the incarceration of juvenile offenders in a serious light as it provides that the detention of juvenile offenders should be a measure of last resort. One of the important international instruments, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, (Article 37(b) provides that children may be arrested, detained or imprisoned "only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest possible period of time". This thesis examines the impact of the Constitution and some international instruments on the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 105 of 1997 with regard to juvenile offenders. It also sets out the current legal position in South Africa with regard to sentencing of juvenile offenders.