Source: (2007) Journal of Social Work Practice. 21(1):103-117.

This paper considers the contribution of a creative writing project to restorative youth justice though a case study in which a young offender is filmed working on a one-to-one basis with a poet over a number of weeks. The restitutive and reparative dimensions of restorative justice are identified and the article shows reparative processes at work through transcribed extracts of video data. The analysis is informed by a psycho-societal perspective which attends to the dialogue around social roles and identities and the intersubjective process of the sessions. It considers the liminal role of the poet in relation to the youth justice system and the moral community which surrounds the young man in question. Conclusions from short-term case-based studies are necessarily tentative and must await larger longitudinal studies. However, the material presented here shows how in using the position of the artist to good effect, the poet succeeds in helping the young offender find a language in which he begins to develop self-reflective capacity, moral responsibility and hopes for a better future. (author's abstract)