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Between agency and accountability: An ethnographic study of volunteers participating in a juvenile diversion program.

Settembrino, Marc R.
June 4, 2015

Source: (2010) Thesis submitted for the degree of Master of Arts. Department of Sociology, College of Arts and Sciences, University of South Florida.

Since the 1970s, the United States has witnessed a great expansion of community-based restorative justice programs. These programs serve as alternatives to the traditional court and probation system. Unlike the traditional justice system, restorative justice focuses on repairing harm done by an offense and works toward restoring the offenders to good standing in the community. While there is a significant amount of research which has examined the effectiveness of community-based programs, relatively little research has focused on the community volunteers who participate in these programs. I conducted an ethnographic study (observations and interviews) of community volunteers participating in a juvenile diversion program called.

My research shows that NAB members encourage offending youths to make better choices in the future. They explain to the teens that with every choice one makes comes a reward or punishment. Specifically, NAB members encourage youths to obey the law, work hard, and have a good attitude. Yet my findings also indicate that NAB members are aware of environmental factors, such as family and schools, which may limit the choices actually available to youths and influence their decision making. Ultimately, these findings represent a contradiction in which NAB members encourage youths to subscribe to middle-class values despite the fact that there may be structural obstacles which impede youths from doing so.


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