Source: (-0001) Journal of Social Work Practice (Volume 21) Issue 3:Pages347-359

Re-integrative shaming has been a central, but by no means uncontroversial principle of restorative practices within the youth justice system. This paper draws on video data from a creative writing project with young offenders in the context of individuated restorative justice programmes. It presents material from work with a young female offender who has been caught up in violent family relations, committed violent offences and whose fantasy life is also permeated by images of violence. Within an on-going conversation with a local poet she finds a symbolic form to symbolise destructive sides of the self. The inter-subjective recognition within the poetry-writing sessions takes place in a context where the tendency to institutionalised shaming embedded in the youth justice system is temporarily suspended. The paper considers the potential of such processes to facilitate moral learning by fostering guilt, concern and the wish to make reparation.