NICRO’s Four Service Streams
Public awareness regarding crime prevention and safety are raised in schools, workplaces and communities through various initiatives, such as specific events, poster campaigns, websites, documentaries, newspaper articles, handing out brochures, providing information, explaining issues and disseminating knowledge to people so that they can make informed decisions. First, there is general public awareness, which involves widespread understanding and acknowledgement of the issues on a societal level – such as Gender Based Violence (GBV), Victimisation; Domestic Violence; Gangsterism; etc. Second, there is self-awareness, which occurs when individuals understand how the concept of safe places, crime and crime prevention affects them personally.
Diversion is a pre-trial service for both adults and children. An offender given a diversion order will not be convicted and will not have a criminal record. The goal of diversion is to divert people away from the criminal justice system, where appropriate, and avoid a trial and a criminal record. Depending on the circumstances of the offence, anyone can be considered for a diversion. The decision normally rests with the public prosecutor, and sometimes the magistrate or judge can order a diversion. We tend to see less serious offences being given diversion. However, diversion has also been ordered for more serious cases as well. Most diversion offenders are aged 15-18 and 30-39. The most common offences for diversion are theft, attempted theft, shoplifting, assault with the intent to commit grievous bodily harm, common assault and possession of narcotics or alcohol. A typical diversion order can consist of community service (20-300 hours), individual counselling, as well as any other intervention offered by NICRO. For more information on the interventions, please click here. A diversion order can last from one to two years. Once the interventions have been successfully completed, the offender will move into the aftercare and tracking phase. Once in this phase, the offender will be tracked at 3 months, 6 months and 12 months intervals.
Non-custodial sentencing or NCS is a post-trial service for both adults and children. An offender is taken through trial, found guilty and NCS is considered at the sentencing stage as an alternative to prison. The goal of NCS is to keep lower risk offenders away from the prisons. Any category of offence can be considered for NCS. The decision rests with the magistrate or judge as to whether an offender will be given a NCS or a prison sentence. Most NCS offenders are aged between 21-22, 30-39 and 17-18 years. The most common NCS offences are theft, attempted theft, assault with the intent to commit grievous bodily harm, common assault, housebreaking, attempted housebreaking and driving under the influence. A typical NCS sentence can consist of community service (20 – 300 hours), lifeskills, individual counselling, as well as any other intervention offered by NICRO. For more information on the interventions, please click here. A NCS sentence can last from one to two years. Once the interventions have been successfully completed, the offender will move into the aftercare and tracking phase. Once in this phase, the offender will be tracked at 3 months, 6 months and 12 months intervals. Offender compliance is strictly monitored. If an offender is found to be non-compliant, they will receive a warning and an opportunity to return to the service. If they do not, the social worker will write and submit an affidavit to the court. The court will then decide to issue a warrant for arrest or a summons to court. The offender will then have to explain his or her conduct before the magistrate or judge. Serious non-compliance may result in the offender’s sentence being converted to a prison sentence. NCS referrals come only from courts.
Offender reintegration (OR) is a NICRO service for offenders in prison. The goal of OR is to reduce the obstacles and challenges released prisoners face, which reduces the likelihood that they will commit another offence when they are released. OR begins prior to the offender being released and continues after the offender has been returned to the community. Any offender in prison may join the OR service if space is available. Both the offender and his or her family are included in the service. Care continues to be provided for between 6 to 12 months after release from prison. The most common intervention used for OR is the Tough Enough Programme (TEP). For more information on TEP as well as the other NICRO interventions.