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NCJ Number: 182784 Find in a Library
Title: Assessing the Crime Fighters: The Ability of the Criminal Justice System To Solve and Prosecute Crime
Author(s): Martin Schonteich
Date Published: September 1999
Page Count: 17
Sponsoring Agency: Institute for Security Studies
Halfway House, 1685
Sale Source: Institute for Security Studies
P.O. Box 4167
Halfway House,
South Africa
Type: Program/Project Evaluation
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: South Africa
Annotation: This paper examines a number of the South African criminal justice system's performance indicators to identify its crucial weaknesses, with most of the analysis focusing on the last 3 years (1996-98) for which comprehensive statistics are available for the entire country.
Abstract: The changing nature of the kinds of crime that have been prosecuted over the past 50 years sheds some light on the current weaknesses in the criminal justice system. Too many cases are withdrawn before they go to trial because of crime victims' lack of understanding of and faith in the criminal justice process, as well as inordinate delays in the Nation's criminal courts. Also, too many cases go undetected because of the public's general unwillingness to assist the police in investigations and to testify for the prosecution in criminal trials. Moreover, many cases go undetected because of the weak criminal investigation capabilities of the police, especially in the area of forensic analysis of evidence. Further, too few cases are being brought by the prosecution service due to a lack of experienced and adequately trained prosecutors. To improve the operation of the South African criminal justice system, a holistic approach is required. Detectives and prosecutors must be better trained and should be encouraged to remain in their respective occupations. Detectives and prosecutors must cooperate more closely and guide each other in their respective fields of expertise to improve their chances of putting more dangerous criminals in prison. Finally, crime victims and the general public should be encouraged to assist and cooperate with the police and the prosecution service. All of these efforts must be coordinated to occur simultaneously if significant improvement in the functioning of the criminal justice system is to be achieved. 13 figures, 3 tables, and 27 notes
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Criminal justice system effectiveness; Foreign criminal justice systems; Police effectiveness; Prosecution
Note: ISS Papers, Paper 40, September 1999
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