Occasional Paper

Sentencing in South Africa Public Perception and Judicial Process

“To understand public perception better, and to assess the extent to which sentencing laws
satisfy public demands for the tough punishments of criminals, the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) and the Institute for Human Rights and Criminal Justice Studies at Technikon South Africa (TSA) conducted a survey among Eastern Cape residents to ascertain their attitudes to sentencing in South Africa. Some of the survey results are discussed in this paper. The paper also summarises the decision-making process that judicial officers follow in deciding on a proper sentence. The various sentencing theories, and the most important factors affecting the severity or leniency of a sentence are examined, as are the options
available to judicial officers in the type of sentence they can impose.”