A MEASURE OF LAST RESORT? Child offenders and life imprisonment

  • Carina du Toit University of Pretoria
Keywords: minimum sentence, children, child offenders, sentencing, South Africa, life imprisonment, harm


The main principle when sentencing children is that imprisonment should be a measure of last resort and only for the shortest appropriate period of time. However, contrary to international and foreign law in this regard, South Africa continues to sentence children to life imprisonment. The aim of this article is to contrast our current sentencing practices with regard to life imprisonment for children, with the sentencing principles set out in South African common law and in international law. Furthermore, the article sets out the negative effects of a mandatory life sentence in terms of the minimum sentences legislation.

Author Biography

Carina du Toit, University of Pretoria
Centre for Child Law
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