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“Positive youth development, restorative justice, and the crisis of abandoned youth.”

Polk, Kenneth
June 4, 2015

Source: (2001) In Restorative community justice: Repairing harm and transforming communities, ed. Gordon Bazemore and Mara Schiff, 265-286. With an introduction by Gordon Bazemore and Mara Schiff. Cincinnati, OH: Anderson Publishing Co.

Using Australia as an example, Polk considers the collapse of work and schooling opportunities for youth and the implications of this collapse for restorative justice. He poses the issue whether restorative justice should be narrowly conceived only in terms of immediate problems of misbehavior, or should it be conceived more broadly in terms of an expansion of social justice. To address this issue, Polk discusses the collapse of the youth labor market (decline of manufacturing employment, new patterns of retail sales, reductions in work force in the private and governmental sectors); and the structural consequences of this situation for young people (youth unemployment, school retention, casual employment, income opportunities, alienation, and youth crime). Upon this basis, Proposing an interplay between developmental and control strategies, he considers policy options in response to these issues confronting young people and society. In this context, Polk asserts that restorative justice is at a crossroads between a narrower conception (its capacity for innovative and effective processes for control) and a broader conception (the possibility of linking restorative justice to patterns of institutional change that widen the developmental opportunities for young people generally).


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