Source: (2004) In Peter C. Kratcoski, ed., Correctional Counseling and Treatment, 5th ed. Long Grove, Illinois: Waveland Press, Inc. Pp. 100-120.

In recent years a number of high-profile incidents of school shootings and homicides in communities have galvanized public attention around issues of school safety and youth violence. However, comments Edmund McGarrell, this tends to divert juvenile justice officials from attention to a separate but real problem, namely, delinquency committed by very young children. Because such offenders have a high likelihood of going on to repeat and more serious offending, more attention should be given by officials and communities to develop and implement early interventions for very young offenders. McGarrell looks at the use of restorative justice conferences as a form of early intervention in this context. Sometimes referred to as family group conferencing, this process is fairly common in Australia and New Zealand, and is becoming more common elsewhere. McGarrell explores challenges posed by very young offenders, the nature and practice of restorative justice conferencing, and an experiment in restorative justice conferencing for very young offenders in Indianapolis, Indiana.