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Making Sense of Tom: Seeing the Reparative in Restorative Justice.

Froggett, Lynn
June 4, 2015

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)


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