NICRO enjoys widespread recognition as the preferred service provider within the criminal justice sector and commands enormous respect for its innovative approach to social crime prevention. All interventions are geared towards creating conditions in which the opportunities and motivation for committing crime are significantly reduced and ultimately eliminated.
NICRO regards crime as one of the greatest threats to human welfare, social development, economic growth, national prosperity, poverty alleviation efforts and sustainable democracy. The organisation boasts a proven, measureable track record of success in its resolute and tireless fight against crime. NICRO tackles crime holistically and effectively, working at every level with individuals, families and communities to reduce and prevent crime by:
- Preventing impressionable, vulnerable youth from becoming entangled in the downward spiral of crime,
- Diverting child, youth and adult (mainly first-time) offenders away from the formal criminal justice system into specialist developmental, therapeutic programmes that really do prevent re-offending and reduce crime,
- Providing constructive, effective alternatives to imprisonment for those convicted of less serious, non-violent crimes which succeed in teaching, healing and effectively breaking the cycle of crime,
- Providing transformation and personal development opportunities for prisoners and former offenders, facilitating their rehabilitation and successful reintegration into society as productive, responsible, law abiding citizens who are an asset, rather than a danger or burden, and
- Helping families and communities support offenders to turn their lives around and make a fresh, new, healthy start.
NICRO’s Vision and Commitment to a Safe South Africa
NICRO believes in reconciliation and healing, building a democratic society, strengthening a human rights culture and creating a safe South Africa in which crime and violence no longer govern. NICRO is committed to ensuring the advancement of a country and communities in which all South Africans are secure and protected, able to access their rights and have opportunities to prosper. To this end the organisation engages in lobbying and advocacy, capacity building, direct service delivery and research. NICRO adheres to the principles of good governance and sound environmental practices.
Landmark Accomplishments and Noteworthy Achievements
NICRO’s fine accomplishments over the years mark the organisation’s active involvement in the transformation of South Africa and testify to a long and proud history of exceptional achievements. NICRO’s 105-year history boasts shining examples of ground-breaking and pioneering contributions to South African society and the criminal justice system. Much of NICRO’s work within this sector continues to form the backbone of contemporary criminal just
Most notable of these include:
- The supervision of prisoners released on probation along with those who receive a suspended sentence, which dates back to the early 1930’s,
- Community service, introduced by NICRO as an alternative to incarceration during the 1970’s,
- Diversion, an embodiment of and a crucial vehicle for restorative justice pioneered by NICRO in the early 1990’s, and
- Non-custodial sentencing as an alternative to incarceration initiated in Southern Africa for the first time ever in June 2006.
Significant Contributions to the Criminal Justice System
NICRO has, over many years, also contributed substantially towards policy development and legislation in South Africa and made numerous other noteworthy contributions to the criminal justice system. NICRO played a leading role in a wide range of workgroups that culminated in the promulgation of new legislation or the adaptation of existing legislation, including the Probation Services Bill, Community-based Sentencing and the new Correctional Services and Supervision Bill. NICRO was also an active participant and contributed significantly to the development of the Domestic Violence Act 116 of 1998 and the Sexual Offences Bill as well as the Service Charter for Victims of Crime (under the leadership of the Department of Justice). In February 2003 NICRO’s efforts to entrench the rights of children in South African legislation, which spanned several years, culminated in its submission to the Justice and Constitutional Affairs Portfolio Committee around the Child Justice Bill [B49 of 2002].
NICRO’s contribution to the development of the South African criminal justice system is clearly evidenced in the 24 occasions the organisation has been cited in case law, including at the constitutional court level.