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Consent and Compliance in Youth Justice Conferences



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Consent and Compliance inYouth
Justice Conferences
Michele Zappavigna, Paul Dwyer, and J. R.Martin
Background:NSW Youth Justice Conferencing
This chapter considers some of the ways in which young people consent to, and
comply with the expectations of, a diversionary legal process known as youth
justice conferencing. In the state of New South Wales, Australia, where the
eldwork for this research was undertaken, a program of youth justice con-
ferencing (with close parallels to programs in other Australian jurisdictions)
has been in operation since the late 1990s. These conferences are an alterna-
tive to dealing with juvenile criminal offenses by a children’s court magis-
trate. They involve bringing a young person who has admitted an offense into
a face-to-face meeting with his or her victim (or a victim’s representative).
Also in attendance are support people for the young person and the victim
(e.g., family, friends, a social worker, a teacher) as well as police (typically a
youth liaison ofcer but also, on occasion, the arresting ofcer) and, where
relevant, an ethnic or indigenous community liaison ofcer. Importantly, the
convener of the conference has no direct judicial or law enforcement role.
He or she is a citizen acting in a private capacity, tasked with facilitating a
“structured conversation” (Moore and McDonald 2000:14)about the young
person’s offending behavior, its repercussions and possible consequences.
While conferences are an attempt to divert offenders away from formal
court proceedings, it is important to remember that they operate within,
rather than outside, the juvenile justice system. Under the provisions of the
NSW Young Offenders Act (1997), a youth justice conference (YJC) can take
place only where a young person (YP) has already admitted an offense to
the police. Areferral to conferencing may then be made either by the police,
before the matter goes to court, or else by a magistrate as an alternative to
judgment in court. The Young Offenders Act denes the purpose of a YJC,
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Consent and Compliance in Youth Justice Conferences 187
in a narrow sense, as determining an “outcome plan” according to which the
YP agrees to undertake various reparative actions (such as a formal apology
to victims or perhaps unpaid work in a community organization). These out-
come plans are then submitted to the children’s court magistrate for ratica-
tion before they are implemented. Failure to complete an approved plan also
leads back to the children’s magistrate who would, in such an instance, deal
with the offense through a conventional court hearing.
However, in addition to the narrowly dened purpose of brokering an
outcome plan that is acceptable to all conference participants, the Young
Offenders Act also refers to broader principles that are meant to underpin
YJCs. These include promoting acceptance by the YP of “responsibility for
his or her own behaviour,” “strengthening the YP’s family or family group,
helping the YP to “become a fully autonomous individual,” enhancing “the
rights and place of victims in the juvenile justice process,” and so on (Young
Offenders Act, section 34[1] ). These strong aspirational statements in the leg-
islation tie in with what we will refer to as a discourse of integration” run-
ning through YJCs. They also point to the close links between YJCs and a
range of processes in other jurisdictions (e.g., family group conferencing in
New Zealand, victim-offender mediation in the United States and Europe,
circle sentencing in Australian and Canadian indigenous communities)
that have been widely promoted in recent decades as part of a more gen-
eral “restorative justice” reform movement. For proponents of such reforms,
crime is conceived not simply as lawbreaking but as “a violation of people
and relationships,” hence justice is considered less a matter of retribution/
punishment and more an effort to involve “the victim, the offender and the
community in a search for solutions which promote repair, reconciliation,
and reassurance” (Zehr 1990:181).
Kathleen Daly (2001) has argued that this distinction between retributive
and restorative forms of justice, despite its strong rhetorical appeal, is much
harder to maintain when one looks closely at how restorative justice prin-
ciples are applied in practice. She also sounds a note of caution with regard
to the way restorative justice advocates often portray these practices as a
rediscovery of traditional dispute resolution processes in many indigenous
To say that conferences are “like” indigenous justice practices is to
re-engage a white-centred view of the world. It erases the many histories
of indigenous justice practices, some of which would not be comprehen-
sible or acceptable in the modern world. And, as Blagg (1997) suggests,
it may lead to a “double failure” for indigenous groups:not only will
they have failed to act in a law-abiding fashion [...] they will appear to
have “failed” to act appropriately as indigenous people according to a
white-centred justice script. (Daly 2001:66)
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188 The Inuence of Discursive Practices
Foreshadowing the conclusion to our chapter, we suggest that Daly is right
to question whether conferencing is really such a close cultural t for disen-
franchised indigenous youth or, indeed, for any young person without the
appropriate “cultural capital” (including the necessary linguistic resources)
to engage in it. Nevertheless, like Daly, we remain sympathetic to the social
justice ideals that underpin many reforms undertaken in the name of restor-
ative justice and we acknowledge the ndings from numerous studies of
conferencing programs that suggest many participants do nd the process
satisfying and procedurally fair (see, for example, Palk, Hayes and Prenzler
1998; Strang, Barnes, Braithwaite and Sherman 1999; Trimboli 2000).1
Criminologists and social psychologists have made a number of claims
regarding the nature of the social interaction that “restores justice” in confer-
encing, invoking such concepts as the management of “social bond threats,”
the experience of “collective vulnerability,or the salutary effects of “rein-
tegrative (rather than stigmatizing) shaming” (Retzinger and Scheff 1996;
Braithwaite 1989; Ahmed, Harris, Braithwaite and Braithwaite 2001; Moore
and McDonald 2001). From our point of view as discourse analysts, perhaps
the most surprising thing about this literature on conferencing is its seeming
indifference to the fact that the democratically toned discourse of integration
in YJCs is embedded within (or, as we will explain below, “projected” by) a
hierarchical, regulative discourse. To put this bluntly, the invitation to the YP
who agrees to participate in a YJC is often couched in a language of empower-
ment and community (“Just tell us in your own words what happened,” “This
has affected all of us, including you”) whereas the tacit expectation of the more
powerful participants in the conference is that the YP will take up this offer in
quite particular ways, by enacting a preferred “genre identity” (suitably defer-
ential, remorseful, etc.). Not all young people are willing or able to “pull off”
this kind of linguistic performance, and this, in turn, may have consequences
for the way consent operates in YJCs. For instance, while it is true that a YJC
can proceed only if the YP gives his or her consent (and this consent may be
withdrawn at any stage during the process), it is also the case that victims
(should they attend the conference) have input into, and a right of veto over,
the conference outcome plan. In short, while the legislation requires only the
YP’s consent, his or her interlocutors require more (and more than they them-
selves perhaps realize). In the analyses below, we focus on aspects of genre and
exchange structure that bear upon the negotiation of not only formal, legal
consent but also the performance by YPs of a compliant genre identity.
Youth Justice Conferencing asa Macrogenre
This chapter explores consent and compliance across a sample of youth jus-
tice conferences that were observed and videotaped between 2008 and 2010.
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Consent and Compliance in Youth Justice Conferences 189
Table 9.1 gives a brief summary of these conferences (each conference has
been given a shorthand title that we will use throughout the chapter when
labeling transcript excerpts in order to remind the reader of the matters being
One limitation of the eldwork undertaken for this study is the fact
that we were not able to observe any of the preconference briengs that
conveners hold with key participants.2 However, our experience of having
attended conference convener training workshops, along with the descrip-
tions of conferencing in pamphlets produced by the NSW Department of
Juvenile Justice, does offer some insight into the kind of expectations with
which participants may approach this relatively novel genre of legal inter-
action. One point to note is that the printed materials provided to partici-
pants before they come to a YJC tend to treat the main roles and activities
within conferencing (“the young person,” “the victim,” “tell[ing] the story
of what happened”) as more or less transparent, given categories (NSW
Department of Juvenile Justice 1999). Similarly, in our eld observations of
convener training, the ideal-typical role to which conveners were encour-
aged to aspire was that of an almost transparent, neutral cypher:“Ideally
the convenor ‘disappears’ after starting the conference. [It’s] not an active
management [of the other participants]” (eld note, September 11, 2005).
Such images belie the complexity of the genre as we have observed it in
actual conferences. Afuller description of YJCs needs to account for the
many smaller steps involved beyond the (never so straightforward) tell-
ing of stories and needs to consider, alongside the ideational content of
the discourse, the (sometimes very active) management of interpersonal
To this end, the analysis in this chapter takes a systemic functional lin-
guistics (SFL) approach, based on a model of social meaning-making that
conceives of genres “as staged, goal oriented social processes” (Martin and
Rose 2008:5). Genres can be thought of as recurrent patterns of meanings
Summary ofyouth justice conferences inoursample
YJC Offense
Affray The YP committe d an affray of fense, chasing a r ival gang memb er,
threatening him, throwing bricks across t he road at him, causing damage to
proper ty and apparently terrifying a number of bystander s.
Guidedog The YP stole the wallet of a blind wom an.
Mobile Phone The YP swapped his mobile p hone for a stolen mobile phone.
School Library Two YPs entered a school librar y and “roughed up” a student.
Shopping Trolley The YP threw a shopping trolley near railway t racks.
Train Tracks The YP stole a packet of chips from her local service station and ran away
onto train tracks when pursued by police.
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190 The Inuence of Discursive Practices
that occur in texts (in some disciplines, these are referred to as “text types”).
Figure 9.1 outlines the structure of YJCs as we have observed them in
our eldwork, suggesting that they be seen as a “macrogenre” (Christie
2002)comprising six functional genres, which each comprise congurations
of elemental genres (that is, smaller genres which are linked together). These
elemental genres are staged, because they take more than one step to achieve
their social purpose. We see this in the movement of YJCs from an initial
introduction and legal framing, through a retelling of the offense and explo-
ration of its impact, toward the generation of a plan for how the young per-
son will make amends for their action and concluding with the closing of the
conference (see Figure9.1).
Conferences begin with a Mandate genre, which institutionalizes the
conference as a legal proceeding. This is followed by Testimony, through
which the offense is recounted. In the ensuing Rejoinder, support persons
and police ofcers evaluate the impact of the offense. This may be followed
by a Caution, in which (typically) a police youth liaison ofcer (YLO) looks
forward and comments on the choices open to the YP as far as reintegration
into the community is concerned.3 The Caution is followed by the Outcome
Plan, where agreement on reparation is reached, and then by Reintegration,
through which legal proceedings are brought to a close and participants have
an opportunity to mingle as members of the community. As is evident from
this description of the genres, initial capital letters are used for genre labels.
Formal, legal consent is elicited at the beginning of the conference in
the Mandate genre and again near the very end of the conference when the
outcome plan is endorsed during the Reintegration genre. Typically involv-
ing a yes/no response to a formulaic question, the negotiation of consent in
these moments that bookend the conference relates to strongly classied
(Bernstein 1990)criteria dened in section 36c of the Young Offenders Act.
By contrast, the YP’s compliance (or not) with what we see as the preferred
genre identity in YJCs is a less obvious negotiation over the duration of the
whole conference. This compliance involves a largely implicit agreement by
YPs both to be a part of the conferencing macrogenre and to engage in the
linguistic processes or patterns that constitute this genre. It means conform-
ing to the kinds of identity or subject position that the genre makes available
to YPs. In the discussion below, we sometimes refer to this as a kind of “pro-
sodic” compliance to reect the way that it is a process that “ebbs and ows”
across the entire conference rather than the product of a particular moment
when the YP is formally asked to state his or her agreement. Prosodic compli-
ance is largely a matter of evaluative language, involving the use of various
appraisal resources (in SFL terms, these are language choices that construe
affect, appreciation, and judgment, and/or which suggest the force or focus
of an evaluation, as well as the choices we make to reference other people’s
evaluations or not—see Martin and Rose 2007 for details).
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Consent and Compliance in Youth Justice Conferences 191
As we will see below, some of this evaluative language comes from
YPs themselves but, more often, YPs are responding to evaluations of their
behavior that other speakers have offered. Martin and Rose explain the link
between prosody andgenre:
Appraisal resources are used to establish the tone or mood of a passage
of discourse, as choices resonate with one another from one moment to
another as a text unfolds. The pattern of choices is thus “prosodic.” They
&""# !!"$#
&! !%$#
&'# 
&!""" !"
FIGURE9.1 Canonical structure for youth justice conference macrogenre
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192 The Inuence of Discursive Practices
form a prosody of attitude running through the text that swells and dimin-
ishes, in the manner of a musical prosody. (Martin and Rose 2007:59)
The signicance of all this for the way in which YPs engage in conferenc-
ing emerged several times during the eldwork phase of our research. In one
particularly memorable instance, after the conclusion of a conference, the
researcher was offered a lift back to the university by police ofcers who
had been present. When asked by the researcher “What did you make of
the YP’s demeanour?” one of the ofcers commented that the YP’s apology
came far too early and was therefore insincere (“He was too polished, too well
rehearsed”). Bearing in mind that this ofcer was the victim of offenses for
which the YP had been charged (abusing a police ofcer and resisting arrest)
and therefore held a right of veto over the outcome plan, we can see how for-
mal, legal consent may be inuenced by participants’ assessment of the YP’s
compliance with thegenre.
Of course, the genre also places expectations on participants other than
the YP in relation to the kinds of identity they enact. Our eldwork obser-
vations suggest, for instance, that victims generally refrain from vindictive
attitudes (including the police ofcer in the example above who did not exer-
cise his right of veto). The following discussion focuses almost exclusively,
however, on the experience of consent and compliance from the perspective
of YPs since their attempts to enact a suitably remorseful identity are compli-
cated by the fact that they have such limited control over thegenre.
Negotiating Formal Consent
As noted, YPs are called upon to provide formal consent at two main points
in the conference:during the Mandate genre, which we will explore in this
section, and during the ratication of the outcome plan in the Reintegration
genre at the end of the conference, explored later in this chapter. The Mandate
genre, which occurs at the beginning of a YJC, has a very recognizable con-
guration of meanings and predictable staging (in the following notation, ^
signals sequence and . freedom of sequence—that is, that the genre following
this midline period can occur at any part of the sequence):
[Ofcial welcome ^ Legal invocation ^ Role declaration ^ Goal
afrmation] . Housekeeping
During this stage participants are brought together and seated in a circle con-
guration and introduced to one another. The Young Offenders Act is invoked
as the relevant legal framework for the conference, and the aims of the confer-
ence are outlined by the convener. Even though some participants may have
already introduced themselves upon arrival, conveners will offer an ofcial
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Consent and Compliance in Youth Justice Conferences 193
welcome once everyone is seated, as a way of formally marking the start of
proceedings. Participants are asked, one by one, to state their name and role.
This stage can sometimes appear quite stilted. While the conveners prefer the
term “young person” to “young offender,since it avoids a potentially stig-
matizing label (Braithwaite 1989), we have yet to hear a formula such as “I’m
X and I’m the young person who did Y” spontaneously produced by a YP at
the start of a conference. Similarly, we have observed reluctance on the part
of police ofcers, who have sometimes been punched, kicked, or spat upon by
a YP, to introduce themselves as a “victim” unless prompted very explicitly
to do so by the convener. The convener then offers a brief overview of what
the conference is meant to achieve (Goal afrmation). Finally, Housekeeping
covers such matters as the convener pointing out to people where the nearest
toilets are, offering people a glass of water, and so on. Overall, this period in a
conference tends to involve frequent shunting back and forth by the convener
between talk that emphasizes the formal legal status of proceedings (where
participants have roles and obligations) and talk that seems to be more about
“knocking the sharp edges off the law,” intimating that conference partici-
pants have assembled with the common goal of achieving consensus regarding
how the YP can make reparation for the harm caused.
The YPs formal consent is elicited during the Legal framing stage of
the Mandate, when the convener makes sure that the YP has admitted to
the offense, since this admission is a prerequisite for a legitimate conference
(Young Offenders Act, section 36b). The following is an example taken from
the Mandate of a YJC involving a YP who had stolen the purse of a blind
woman seated on a public bench along the main street of a countrytown:
Extract 1:Guidedog YJC
:Thanks all for making the effort to attend. It’s a difcult matter.
Your presence here will help us deal with it successfully. The conference
will focus on an incident that happened at [Location X] on date X about
10 o’clock in the morning. It involves YP and Victim X.The Young
Offenders Act 1997 requires that the young person has admitted the
offence and agreed to the conference. YP do you conrm your admission
to the offence of stealing?
:And do you give your consent for the- this conference to proceed?
:Do you understand that at any time you can elect to have this
matter to be dealt with by the court?
:Thanks. OK. Now let’s proceed.
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194 The Inuence of Discursive Practices
The convener may attempt to determine that the YP is attending voluntarily,
presumably by way of helping to ensure genuine consent to the proceedings,
as in the following exchange from the “affray”YJC:
Extract 2:Affray YJC
: Ok, YP, one of the conditions of a juvenile conference is that you
admit to the offence in front of all of us here today and that you tell us
that you are here of your own free will. So did you commit the offences
you were charged with?
: Yes.
: And are you here of your own free will?
: Yes.
: OK. Thank you. OK, what we are going to do now is just go
around the table and were going to start with YP. YP, what I’d like you to
do is to tell everybody what happened on that particular day .
The kind of consent in play during the Mandate functions as a formal legal
consent—a binary agreement by the YP with statements made by the conve-
ner. This form of consent may theoretically be withdrawn during any stage of
the conference by the YP, thereby diverting the matter to a magistrate, though
we do not have any instances in which this has occurred in our recorded con-
ferences or observations. Of course, the apparently straightforward way in
which YPs consent to having the matter dealt with by means of a YJC does
not mean that they are always sure of what, exactly, they are agreeing to in
terms of the ensuing process.
Prosodic Compliance and Regulative Discourse
As suggested earlier, in addition to the formal consent required by law as a
precondition for the conference to proceed, YPs are expected to demonstrate
a less obvious form of compliance in which the language of evaluation is often
critical. However, it is not only a matter of how participants evaluate, for
example, the nature of the YP’s offending behavior; it is also a matter of when
and where the macrogenre encourages such evaluations and from whom. YPs
must t in with a “prosody of attitude” that unfolds across the whole mac-
rogenre, but perhaps the clearest example of the challenge they face can be
seen in the special role that evaluative language plays in the Commissioned
recount. To prepare the ground for an analysis of the Commissioned Recount
genre, we begin with some comments about the regulative discourse that fea-
tures prominently in YJCs and which impacts upon the kinds of subject posi-
tion that the YP is able to take up within the conferencing macrogenre.
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Consent and Compliance in Youth Justice Conferences 195
As the exchanges between the YP and the convener in the Mandate
extract introduced in the previous section suggest, determining the issue
of consent is convener “driven” during that initial part of the conference in
terms of exchange structure, with the convener making all of the initiating
moves and the YP responding a word at a time. This process of obtaining
formal consent resembles what Basil Bernstein, British sociologist of educa-
tion, termed a regulative discourse operating within a pedagogic discourse.
For Bernstein (1990:183), a pedagogic discourse is “the rule which embeds a
discourse of competence (instructional discourse) into a discourse of social
order (regulative discourse).What he is exploring here is the relation between
the discourse of the subjects being taught in school (e.g., science, history,
mathematics) and the discourse used to teach them (including control of stu-
dent behavior and the pacing, sequencing and evaluation of what is learned).
Fundamental to his argument is the idea that “the regulative discourse is the
dominant discourse [...] because it is the moral discourse that creates the
criteria which give rise to character, manner, conduct, posture” (Bernstein
1996:48). As a consequence, the discourses of the subjects being taught are
always recontextualized discourses, taken out of the contexts in which they
are routinely produced and deployed and subsequently reworked into the
moral order of schools. In Bernstein’s terms, the purpose of the “pedagogic
device,that is, the rules and social relationships that enable and regulate
pedagogic communication, is “to provide a symbolic ruler for consciousness”
(Bernstein 1996:50). Christie develops this work in her analysis of classroom
discourse, focusing on variables of register in the discourse and preferring
Halliday’s notion of “projection” to Bernstein’s “embedding:“The rst
order or regulative register, it will be argued, ‘projects’ a second order or
instructional register” (Christie 2002:25). She explains her metaphorical use
of the grammatical term “projection”:
A clause that projects in some sense takes something said or thought
before and reinstates it. Hence the notion of projection is used metaphor-
ically to refer to the relationship of the two registers in the pedagogic dis-
course. Aeld of knowledge and its associated activity is taken, relocated
and in some sense therefore “projected” for another purpose and another
site. (Christie 2002:25)
Pedagogic discourses are not restricted to school settings, however, as Muntigl
shows in his extension of these ideas to the study of relationship counseling
I shall argue that the narrative counselling discourse interview []
includes both a regulative and instructional register. Regulation involves
the degree to which the client’s social actions are managed by the coun-
sellor [ t]he instructional register [] involves [] the ways in which
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196 The Inuence of Discursive Practices
the clients are meant to construe experience [] it is by regulating cli-
ents’ verbal behaviour that a certain view of problems and their inu-
ences becomes possible. (Muntigl 2004:124)
In a similar vein, we suggest that youth justice conferencing can be seen as a
pedagogic discourse that includes elements of regulative discourse and ele-
ments of what we have been calling a discourse of integration, intended to
realign the YP with the values of his or her family, ethnic group, and com-
munity and diminish the relatively malign inuence of peers. This duality
is hardly surprising given that the design of this evolving macrogenre has
its origins in the concerns of both the criminal justice and social work sys-
tems (Cunneen and White 2007). Again, however, as Bernstein and Christie
would have it, it is the regulative discourse that is dominant, “projecting” and
thereby recontextualizing the discourse of integration.
The regulatory dimension of conferencing as a pedagogic discourse
reveals itself, in part, through the realization of the interaction by conveners
(and sometimes other professionals in the room, such as police youth liaison
ofcers) as an occasion for “linguistic servicing” (i.e., requests for verbal per-
formances of various kinds that can be double-coded as requests for both
knowledge and action) (see Ventola 1987 on the role of linguistic servicing in
service encounters).
Tables2 to 4 present a simplied version of the kind of exchange struc-
ture analysis we have adopted in our work in order to keep track of both
regulative and integrative moves in conferencing discourse (for more detailed
analysis and explanation of notation see Martin, Zappavigna and Dwyer
2009b). This approach to exchange analysis considers dialogue in terms of
what is being negotiated by speakers, that is, whether they are initiating or
responding to information or knowledge (K)(for instance, asking what the
time is), or whether they are offering or demanding action (A)(for instance,
asking for a drink of water) (Martin and Rose 2007). It builds on the IRF (ini-
tiation, response, and feedback) model of classroom discourse developed by
Sinclair and Coulthard (1975) and extended by Berry (1981a, 1981b), Ventola
(1987), and others.
In Tables2 and 3, we have edited a portion of the transcript from near
the start of an actual conference so as to articially separate out, for a
moment, the regulative moves from the integrative moves in the discourse.
In Table 9.2, where the convener is demanding a specic (verbal) action
from the YP, the hierarchical relationship between them is very clear. In
Table 9.3, the convener is asking a question that, however formulaic, is at
least premised on the notion that the YP has better knowledge of his or her
“own free will” than the convener does. To the extent that this exchange
endows the YP with some sense of agency, it launches the process by which
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Consent and Compliance in Youth Justice Conferences 197
the YP can begin to establish him- or herself as a candidate for reintegra-
tion into family and community networks.
Table 9.4 presents the actual transcript from which the edited talk in
Tables 9.2 and 9.3 was taken. Here, we see how closely the regulative and
integrative dimensions of the discourse work together, to the point where
some exchanges in youth justice conferences can be interpreted as offer-
ing or demanding action just as much as they are initiating or respond-
ing to information. Regulative and integrative work is happening at the
egulative moves inan exchange betweena convenerandYP
Speaker Talk Regula tive
Convener So what Ineed yo u to do is admit
you’re guilty.
A2 (command)
YP OK. [nods] A1 (under taking)
Integrative moves inan exchange betweena convenerandYP
Speaker Talk Integr ative
Convener You’ve already admit ted your guilt to this offence
and you’re here of y our own free will?
K2 (question)
YP Yep. [nods] K1 (answer)
Convener Yep? K2f (follow up)
Regulative and integrative moves inan exchange betweena convener andaYP
Speaker Talk Regula tive Integrative
Convener So what Ineed yo u to do is A2 (command)
<<you’ve already admitted your guilt to this
A1 (under taking) K 2 (question)
and you’re here of y our own free will? >>
YP Yep. [nods] K1 (answer)
Convener Yep? K2f (follow up)
OK A2f (follow up)
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198 The Inuence of Discursive Practices
Compliant YP Identities and Evaluation ofthe YP’sStory
Throughout the conference, the convener has the dual role of managing
compliance at the level of exchange structure, as seen in the examples
above where she is interacting specifically with the YP, and compliance
in terms of the overall macrogenre, where she must assist all conference
participants in moving through the different parts of the conference
toward a successful resolution in a working outcome plan. To assist this
process, the pressure of the conferencing macrogenre seems to be pro-
pelling YPs toward adopting a particular subject position:a forthcom-
ing, remorseful young person (Martin, Zappavigna and Dwyer 2009a).
Often, however, we have observed a “small target” YP, that is, a YP who
appears to want to say as little as possible to avoid becoming a target
of criticism. Consequently, details and evaluation regarding the offense
often have to be extracted from the YP by the convener (or sometimes
other participants, for example, the police youth liaison officers) during
the Commissioned Recount (Martin etal. 2009b). In this section we will
explore some typically minimalist recounts of offending behavior that,
nevertheless, support the construction of a compliant YP “genre identity”
since both the young people involved willingly submit to an extension of
their brief recount by answering additional questions proposed by the
convener. (This kind of compliance will be contrasted, in the next section
of the chapter, with a much less common, noncompliant genre identity
produced by YPs who are markedly resistant to some of the things said
about them in the conference.)
The Commissioned Recount is the genre during which the YP relates the
offense and its impact on those around them.4 Our rst example of this genre
is developed below. Given the oor by the convener, the young person begins
as follows:
Extract 3:Mobile phone YJC
I was walking to a mate’s house
And ( )and Iwas walking with him.
This guy just came up to me
and he goes “Do you want to buy this phone?”
At this point the convener interrupts him, in order to ask him to speak
louder (for the benet of the police liaison ofcer who, she says, has a
cold, and perhaps also for the benet of our recording process). He then
resumes, in a slightly louder voice (stages within the genre are shown in
bold subtitles):
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Consent and Compliance in Youth Justice Conferences 199
Extract 4:Mobile phone YJC
Yeah, Iwas, Iwas walking to a mate’s house.
Record of events
This guy just came up to me
and goes ‘Do you want to buy a phone?’
and Igo ‘No’
and Igo ‘Do you want to swap?’
( ) want to swap with my phone
and he looked at my phone
and he goes ‘Yeah’ and we swap
and Iwent and stayed at my mate’s house
and when it came to night time Iwas going back home,
and we was walking, was walking up the road
and the police just came and got us.
The convener at this point nods encouragingly, in case the young person
wishes to expand on his statement—an invitation the young person declines:
Extract 5:Mobile phone YJC
. . [as convener nods] That’s it.
In terms of genre staging, this is a typical recount (Martin and Rose 2008),
beginning with an Orientation (in Extract 4), establishing the Record of Events
(also in Extract 4)and closing with a Reorientation (Extract 5). However, the
level of detail provided is minimal and there is no self-evaluation or assess-
ment of the offense (e.g., was it a bad thing to do?). The convener thus scaf-
folds an Extension to the recount (in Extract 6 below), covering events at the
police station, and elicits more details from the YP about how the offense has
affected people in his family, all with a view to exploring how the YP might
reintegrate back into his family network.
Extract 6:Mobile phone YJC
:And then what happened? They came and got you. They found
the phone. What did they say to you?
:They go that this phone was stolen.
:OK. What did you say?
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200 The Inuence of Discursive Practices
:Igo, you know, Iswapped it. Yeah, they just took- took me.
:Took you where?
:Police station.
:And who did they ring when they brought you to the police
:My dad.
Our second example of a Commissioned Recount has a longer Record of
Events, as the young person recounts what happened when he went to back
up a mate who had arranged to ght someone one-on-one. We hear how the
“duel” gets out of hand:someone is stabbed; the young person responds by
chasing the rival gang member who did the stabbing, threatening him, throw-
ing bricks across the road at him, causing damage to property and apparently
terrifying a number of bystanders. He has pleaded guilty to a charge of affray
(though at the conference he initially introduces himself as “the victim”5 and
has to be corrected by the convener).6 His account begins as follows:
Extract 7:Affray YJC
It was up there
It was—( ) on a Tuesday yeah. ( )
Record of events
and Igot a call from my friend, [Person X], ( )to come down to [name
of suburb].
Something going on;
but when Iwent down with them to [name of different suburb] station
and jumped on the train ( )
and the train we got it straight to [name of suburb],
we got off at [name of suburb]
( ) [Person Y] and other—his other two friends.
And they had a one on one
and Ijumped in
and Iturn around.
I was having a go with his friends
and the (one) next to me got stabbed
and he ( )goes ‘Chase him!’
and Iwent and chased him,
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Consent and Compliance in Youth Justice Conferences 201
started chucking stuff at him,
hitting him.
I couldn’t stop him.
He still had the knife in his hand
and after that Iwalked back to the station to see [Person X]
and Isee the policeman coming as Iwalked away
and ( )happened to him
and Isaid to the two ofcers ‘Assault me, search me.’
They took out all my stuff
and they found out Iwas involved
and they took me back to the police station.
And my ( )
and Ihad an interview
and they took my pants, my hat, my jacket
and Iwas released.
As the notation above shows, his recount once again begins with an
Orientation and continues with a Record of Events; there is, however, no for-
mal closing (i.e., Coda).7 The convener then scaffolds a long Extension stage,
exploring why the young offender went to back up his mate, and establishing
that he was also charged with possession of aknife:
Extract 8:Affray YJC
:And when you- when you decided you would go down and help
your friend, what did he actually say to you?
:He was going to see [Person X].
:And why was he going to see [Person X]?
:Because [Person X] offered him out.
:Offered what?
:Nah ( )two of us have a go like one on one.
:To ght?
:And so why did he need you there if he was going to ght him
one on one?
:Because I’m closer ( ).He trusts me like in case anything happens
because I’ve known him since primary.
:And why did he think something would happen?
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202 The Inuence of Discursive Practices
:In case.
:And when you went to this location you had something on your
person. You had something with you. What was that?
:The knife.
:So you want to tell us about the knife?
:( )didn’t know Ieven had it on me. Forgot Ihad it on me the whole time
and then Icouldn’t remember Ihad it until they ( )and pulled it out and
showed them. It doesn’t even work. You can’t even use it.
:But it’s not actually a knife.
:Aknife is included in it isn’t it?
:What else is it?
:Acan opener, screwdriver.
:And so when the police, um, searched you and found the um,
what are they, a Leatherman? Is that what they’re called?
Arresting Ofcer:ALeatherman sort of tool.
:When they found that what did you say to them?
:Said it’s for work.
:Tell everybody what you did for work back then.
:Panel beater.
:So, as Iexplained to you the other day, why do you think the
police charged you with having that weapon in your possession?
:( )They thought Igot ready for a ght to use it
:And what else did they say to you? Do you remember?
:Did they say anything to you about the fact that it, you know, as
a panel beater you probably don’t need a knife?
:Is that—do you think that’s reasonable?
:So you accept the fact that you got charged with the possession
of the knife.
:Alright and then when you chased after [Person X] what were
you going to do when you caught him?
:Wasn’t going to fuck with him. Was going to bring him back.
:Bring him back to where?
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Consent and Compliance in Youth Justice Conferences 203
:The station Well Icouldn’t, he had the knife in his hand still.
:What did you think when you saw [Person Y] with the knife?
:Ididn’t want to get—I didn’t want to get (next to him) in case Igot
stabbed. If Ionly had the knife Iwould have pulled it out on him too but
Ididn’t have it. Iforgot Ihad it on me.
:So what did he say to you when you—when you caught up with him?
:He just goes ‘What did Ido? Ididn’t do nothing.’
:And then what did you do to him?
:Ichased him until he went in—inside a shop.
:Yeah. And then what did you do?
:Iwent back to the station and Iwent back down and that’s when
Igot stopped.
In both the YJCs cited above, we can see that the YP’s recounts are very
at” and ideationally focused (that is, they are focused on the “topic” e.g.,
the specic events leading to the YP’s arrest). This is in contrast to personal
recounts in young people’s everyday conversations in which there is usually
an ongoing prosody of evaluation (that is, instances of evaluative language
that unfold sporadically throughout the text, that add to the bare bones of a
story by giving the speaker’s “take” on these events, suggesting what it means
for them and inviting listeners to bond with the speaker in relation to these
meanings). In terms of the discourse of integration that is so important to
the designers of YJCs, there is clearly an expectation that the YP’s recount
is already a step toward redemption, a sign that the YP is starting to take
responsibility for his or her actions. However, as the excerpts above show,
the integrative aspect of these recounts is, once again, framed or projected
by the regulative discourse in which the convener’s role is paramount. This
is why we describe the recounts in YJCs as “commissioned.” They are a lin-
guistic service that the YP agrees to provide. The limited self-evaluation by
YPs during the Commissioned Recount arguably detracts from their value in
terms of integration but, as the examples above also demonstrate, a compli-
ant engagement by the YP with the evaluations provided by other conference
participants who help extend the recount usually offsets this decit.
Noncompliant YP Identities and Disruption tothe Macrogenre
In one of the conferences from our sample, however, we did encounter
young persons who resisted what was said about them by other partici-
pants. In terms of prosodic compliance, their aberrant resistance under-
scores the compliant nature of YP behavior in all the other conferences we
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204 The Inuence of Discursive Practices
observed. These young persons were quite open about what had happened,
but made excuses, blamed others, and were generally unconvincing as far
as showing remorse was concerned. Below, in the Rejoinder phase of the
school library YJC, the convener pushes against this stance, reminding the
YPs that the offense has seriously affected the victim’s life. This confer-
ence involved two young offenders (YP1 and YP2), who have roughed up a
student in a school library; YP1 has excused their behavior on the grounds
that the victim has allegedly been picking on a female friend of theirs (“It’s
not right for a guy to pick on a girl and I’ve just been brought up to stand
up for girls and guys shouldn’t do it. If a guys got a problem do something
to a guy not to a girl.”)
Extract 9:School library YJC
:It’s affected his life.
:Yeah Iknow it has. Thats what Iam saying. It’s changed a lot. I- Ido
realise what we’ve done=
:=Well the snickering and the smiling doesn’t make me think that-
:( )Yeah well I’m not a rat from [Location X].
:W- Iknow that.
:I’m not one of those friggin’ retarded people that just say ‘oh yeah
Idone that. Iw- I’ll do it again’. [pause] I’ll do everything that Ican to
change everything that’s happened. Seriously. Walk the streets, mate. Go
have fun. Go get drunk. Do whatever. Party on. ( )
By suggesting, in this exaggerated manner, that the victim is now free
to get drunk and party without any fear of being roughed up, YP1 is
eschewing the “small-target” persona that most other YPs in our sample
adopted. The excessive posturing of YP1 draws a rebuke from the attend-
ing police youth liaison officer (YLO), who likens the YPs to farmyard
Extract 10:School library YJC
Rejoinder (continued)
:See you two guys are a bit like the old farmyard rooster.
:The what?
:All farmyard roosters are all uffed up and want to impress people. So
you go into the school grounds all uffed up ready to go
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Consent and Compliance in Youth Justice Conferences 205
:and then you want to impress people so you barge through and just ‘I’m
here. I’m here to do what Ilike. No one’s going to stop me’
:( )[shakes head then folds arms]
As far as the design of YJCs is concerned, this talk of the YLO is fairly trans-
gressive behavior in itself, since it is considered important, when communi-
cating disapproval of an offender’s behavior, not to directly attack them as
a person (Ahmed etal. 2001). The YLO’s labeling of the YPs as “roosters” is
accompanied by a clearly negative evaluation (these roosters are dismissed as
“old” and inappropriately “uffed up”) and even, as the video recording of
this YJC shows, an element of physical parody as the YLO starts pufng out
his own chest and embodying the image he has conjured up of these YPs. He
has thus considerably “ramped up” the criticism of the YPs from the conve-
ner’s earlier mild rebuke about their “snickering and smiling”). The upsurge
of bad feeling in the prosody of this YJC soon erupts as YP1’s sister, who has
attempted to respond on her brothers behalf, breaks down and leaves the
conference circle in tears. YP1 responds to her departure as follows:
Extract 11:School library YJC
:Happy now?
:Happy now?
:Mate, I’ve been doing the job for 22years and there’s people that have
different sides to them. There’s the side you portray to your family, there’s
the side you portray by yourself, and then when you get together as a
group, there’s another side that comes out again.
:Auffed up rooster.
:Yeah. Maybe you’re the uffed up rooster. ( )
:Abad way to describe me.
:Well, we’re not here to sling comments at ya.
:You slinged one.
:( )
:It was an analogy- an analogy Idrew—that’s all—to try and portray
what it looks like.
:Yeah. Isee. Isee, mate.
This characterization of YP1 and YP2 as farmyard roosters, and their reac-
tion to it, was a pivotal moment. The YPs are, in effect, threatening to renege
on the implicit agreement, established in earlier stages of the conference, that
they will comply with the prosody of evaluation anticipated by the genre.
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206 The Inuence of Discursive Practices
They explicitly challenge the claims made by the YLO, sarcastically quoting
his words and throwing them back at him in the followingmoves:
:Auffed up rooster.
:Yeah. Maybe you’re the uffed up rooster. ( )
:Abad way to describe me.
This degree of disrespect for authority is unique in our corpus and has no
doubt been enabled by the YLO himself stepping out of line by labeling the
YPs in this way. The YLO attempts to recover the situation by commenting
metalinguistically on what is going on, suggesting that he was not intending
to insult theYPs:
:Well, we’re not here to sling comments at ya.
:You slinged one.
:( )
:It was an analogy- an analogy Idrew—that’s all—to
try and portray what it looks like.
However, the YPs also resist the YLO’s conversational repair work here. The
video recording of the conference shows YP1 slouching back in his chair, with
his hand on his chin as he skeptically considers the YLO and replies sarcasti-
cally, “Yeah. Isee. Isee, mate.” Clearly, the YPs’ inability or unwillingness,
at this point, to produce a compliant genre identity is a major disruption.
The fact that this conference did ultimately resume its macrogeneric prog-
ress, resulting in an outcome plan that was consented to by both YPs and the
victim, owed a great deal to the “hyper-compliant” genre identity produced
by YP1’s sister, his main support person in the conference. Upon returning to
the room, she explained her distress in terms of the anxiety she felt about YP1
getting into serious trouble with the police and about the stresses of her role
as primary caregiver for YP1 in the wake of their mother having left the fam-
ily home. Without the ability of YP1’s sister to bond with the victim’s mother
and the victim’s support person in relation to their evaluations of the impact
the YPs’ offending behavior had on the victim, consent to an outcome plan
may have been very difcult to achieve.
Consenting toReintegration and the“OutcomePlan”
The informal prosodic compliance discussed in the previous sections is
condensed in the culminative Reintegration genre that occurs at the end of
the conference. This genre involves the conference participants negotiating
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Consent and Compliance in Youth Justice Conferences 207
the reparation that the young person will undertake. It has the following
[Brokering a collective agreement ratication of outcome plan ^
(Apologies and acknowledgments)8 ^ Formal closing. (Shared
refreshments) ^ Dispersal]
During the Reintegration the participants must come to an agreement regard-
ing the outcome plan under the terms of which a YP commits to certain tasks
(a formal apology, payment of some monetary compensation, volunteer work
in a community organization, etc.) as a way of “putting things right.” As
noted above, both the YP and the victim (if one is present) must formally
consent to the outcome plan in order for it to be ratied and implemented.
Conveners will also typically enquire whether other conference participants
more generally are “happy with” itsterms:
Extract 12:School library YJC
:OK. Alright, what we’re going to do now is, um, we’re gonna have
a quick break and I’m going to write up the outcome plan, so, is everybody
happy with the ten hours community service, and the apology letter?
In most conferences the convener draws up the written outcome plan dur-
ing the break for refreshments after the verbal discussion of the plan has
Extract 13:Mobile phone YJC
:What we are going to do now is have a little break. OK? And Iam
going to write up the outcome plan, and that’s the community service and
the school issues, OK?
The convener will usually follow up by reading out this outcome plan to
ensure that it represents the terms discussed:
Extract 14:Traintracks YJC
:OK, thanks guys. I’ll just quickly read out the outcome plan so that
everybody knows what it says before everyone signs it, OK. The young person
will complete ten hours community service at [Location X] Police Citizen
Youth Centre. The young person will write a letter of apology to the CEO of
[Organisation X] and send it to [Person X] at [Location X]. That’s easy isn’t
it. OK? So there will be no doubt about where you got to send that letter, OK.
Alright, his monitor is [Person X] and the start day will be the twenty-rst of
this month. There’ll be a review date on the fourth of November and you’ll
nish it on the eighteenth of November, so that gives you plenty of time.
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208 The Inuence of Discursive Practices
The convener then explicitly asks, one last time, whether the outcome plan
is deemed satisfactory by those present, by implication checking that they
consent to its implementation:
Extract 15:Traintracks YJC
:Does that sound fair enough to everybody? Okeydokey. So
if Icould please have you sign it, YP, just there where it says “Young
Person,” for me, and pass it over to mum, and get mum to sign it where it
says “Carer,” just over there un- above my signature there.
:[( )]
:Car—carer. Thank you. And then just for you, thank you [Victim
X], as the Victim, ta. Thanks [Person Y]. Ah, you’re gonna sign victim,
there. Excellent, thank you very much. OK, now (give) everyone their
copies. There you go. That one’s for you, that one’s for you, and can you
give that to YLO for me please? Thank you, alright. OK, well that wraps
up the business end of the deal.
The oral presentation of the written plan echoes the way conveners sometimes
read aloud when invoking the Young Offenders Act during the Mandate at
the beginning of the conference. The delivery suggests that participants are
intended to perceive the agreement as binding, legal and formal in nature.
The signing of this written document is a codifying of the consent which has,
in no small measure, been enabled through the enactment of compliant genre
identities throughout the conference.
This chapter has investigated consent and compliance by young persons
involved in NSW youth justice conferencing:strongly classied, legal consent in
the Mandate and Outcome Plan stages of the conference, and a more prosodic,
weakly classied genre compliance throughout the proceedings. In considering
compliance we have explored the kind of identities that the young person is able
to enact within the constraints of the macrogenre, noting the dominance of a
“small-target” YP, though the potential for a more resistant, less amenable YP
also exists. Considering conferencing as a macrogenre, we have investigated the
exchanges that occur between conveners and YPs, emphasizing the regulative
function of the discourse. To conclude, we want to touch briey on some of the
broader implications of the arguments advanced in this chapter.
We have stressed that the participation of YPs in conferencing is heavily
scaffolded by conveners and other powerful participants, to the point where
YPs can nd it difcult to comply with expectations regarding genre and iden-
tity. It is not so easy for YPs to present themselves as forthcoming, sincere,
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Consent and Compliance in Youth Justice Conferences 209
and remorseful when they have little control over the genre. That said, we do
not mean to suggest that scaffolding is necessarily a bad thing. On the con-
trary, given that youth justice conferencing is still an emerging macrogenre
and a novel, typically one-off experience for most participants (not to mention
the low levels of literacy and uency in English of some YPs), some form of
scaffolding is clearly essential. Furthermore, while the regulative discourse in
conferencing inscribes hierarchical power relations among participants, this
is often paired with close and certainly negotiable relations of solidarity with
respect to the values of family, ethnicity, religion, or other community afli-
ations invoked as part of the integrative discourse of conferencing. Indeed,
many times in our eldwork observations, we have been impressed by the sen-
sitivity with which conveners and, in particular, Indigenous or ethnic commu-
nity liaison ofcers have steered YPs through the demands of the macrogenre.
It remains a concern for us, however, that there is widespread misrecog-
nition among theorists and advocates of restorative justice of the extent to
which regulative discourse drives conferencing. To ignore this is to render
conferencing a kind of “invisible pedagogy” (Bernstein 1990)in which rela-
tions of power are masked while YPs and other “lay” participants are loaded
up with responsibility for the success of the process. It is also to understate,
as various critics have argued in relation to disenfranchised indigenous youth
in particular (Daly 2001; Cunneen, 2002; Dickson-Gilmore and La Prairie
2005; Blagg 2008), the extent to which the experience an individual has of
conferencing will relate to the wider social struggles of communities that are
frequently subjected to racial discrimination and aggressive over-policing.
While conferencing can be practiced in ways that are exible and accom-
modating toward cultural differences,” as Daly (2001:65)acknowledges, it
would be naïve to think that the relative informality of conferencing talk
could be, in and of itself, sufcient to persuade “at-risk” YPs, from “tar-
geted” communities, that they can (or would want to) have a voiceinit.
The ability to perform well in this complex macrogenre seems, in many
respects, a product of what Bourdieu (1990) would dene as “habitus”:the
whole gamut of habitual thoughts, actions, and ways of being in the world
to which social agents become heavily predisposed through family upbring-
ing, schooling, and other formative life experiences and which, while not
class-determined, are denitely class-related. In the case of YJCs we have
observed and documented, it is clear that some YPs are much better equipped
to deal with the genre than others. They “just seem to know” (in other words,
they learned long ago) when to look down, when to look at the person who’s
talking, how to speak with a deferential tone, and, most important, how to
put across a metanarrative that suggests they’ve learned from the past. The
genre suits them. We don’t see these more gifted performers as necessarily
insincere, but to argue that such a gift comes naturally is to perpetuate a form
of additional symbolic violence (Bourdieu 1991)against those for whom the
genre is less straightforward and for whom conferencing has often been most
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210 The Inuence of Discursive Practices
zealously promoted as a less alienating, more rehabilitative framework than
formal court proceedings.
1. Most evaluations of conferencing programs carried out by criminologists have
been focused on four issues:the percentage of participants who report being satised
with the process; the percentage of participants who see conferencing as procedurally
fair; the costs of settling matters by means of conferencing compared to court disposal;
and the possibility that juvenile offenders who go through a conference are less likely to
reoffend compared to offenders who go to court. While there is considerable variation in
ndings (see Daly 2001), most surveys report very high levels of satisfaction (sometimes
as high as 90%). Some studies have found that rates of satisfaction are lower for victims
than offenders, but, even in these cases, there is still a clear majority of victims who
report being satised. Perceptions of procedural fairness are similarly high. The issues
of cost and recidivism rates have, perhaps not surprisingly, attracted most attention
from legislators and bureaucrats. Advocates of restorative justice have perhaps raised
higher than reasonable expectations in this regard. Smith and Weatherburn (2012) have
found that the introduction of conferencing in NSW has made no signicant difference
to recidivism rates. They conclude, nevertheless, that conferencing serves a valuable
purpose insofar as it “gives victims of crime some measure of closure and relief while at
the same time restraining the public appetite for expensive and ineffective punishments”
(2012:17 ).
2. The ethics protocol for our research, approved by the University of Sydney and
the NSW attorney general, allowed us to observe and document YJCs but not the pre-
conference briengs. This protocol also requires us to present transcript materials in a
way that protects the anonymity of participants:we have omitted the names of partici-
pants and any other details that might make it possible to identify the case for which the
YJC was convened.
3. We use the label “YLO Caution” somewhat tentatively here. This genre is not
part of the design of YJCs outlined in the NSW Young Offenders Act, but we sense that
it has become a part of the macrogenre as a result of the fact that police youth liaison
ofcers regularly attend conferences. The Young Offenders Act does authorize YLOs to
conduct a formal, legal caution (which YPs attend at a police station, accompanied by an
adult carer) as a lower level intervention for lesser offenses (the act presents “on the spot”
warnings, formal YLO cautions, and YJCs as the three options in a scale of graduated
responses). We suspect that YLOs carry across into YJCs the discourse patterns they
have practiced in running police cautions.
4. For a detailed analysis of regulative and integrative discourse in YJC in relation
to exchange structure, see Martin etal. (2009b).
5. It is possible that the YP was unfamiliar with the term “victim” or was confused
due to the nature of the offense which involved two offenders and he may have seen him-
self as the victim of the second offender.
6. The NSW Crimes Act (section 93C) denes the charge of affray as follows:A
person who uses or threatens unlawful violence towards another and whose conduct is
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Consent and Compliance in Youth Justice Conferences 211
such as would cause a person of reasonable rmness present at the scene to fear for his
or her personal safety is guilty of affray and liable to imprisonment for 10years.” It’s
obviously closely related to assault charges, the difference being to do with the presence
of, and impact upon, terrorized bystanders.
7. As the use of terms like “Orientation” and “Coda” suggest, the work of Labov
and Waletzky (1967) on narratives of personal experience was one of the early inuences
on the way SFL theorists began describing and analyzing a range of genres in school
classrooms and other contexts from the late 1980s onward. See Martin and Rose (2008)
for details.
8. The parentheses here indicate optionality.
Ahmed, Eliza, Nathan Harris, John Braithwaite and Valerie Braithwaite. 2001. Shame
Management Through Reintegration. Cambridge:Cambridge UniversityPress.
Bernstein, Basil. 1990. Class, Codes and Control:The Structuring of Pedagogic Discourse
(vol. 4). London:Routledge.
Bernstein, Basil. 1996. Pedagogy, Symbolic Control and Identity:Theory, Research,
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... Conferences open with a genre we refer to as the socio-legal framing, whose overall function is to establish agreement with respect to the conduct of the macro-genre. Based on analysis of the eight conferences we transcribed and considered in detail, we propose the following stages for this genre -along with a brief characterisation of their function Dwyer 2007a, 2009;Zappavigna, Dwyer and Martin 2015 Stages typically unfold in the sequence listed above, although both the Goal Affirmation and Protocol Setting stages may occur more than once, and are more flexible than other stages in terms of where they appear. We will not go into the details and challenges of formalising a structural representation of this staging here (for further discussion, see Zappavigna and Martin in press). ...
This article presents an overview and extension of research into one form of diversionary justice, the Youth Justice Conferencing programme in New South Wales, Australia. Conferences are formal procedures organised by a Convenor and typically involving a young offender, their victim or victim’s representative, support persons, the arresting police officer, a police liaison officer and additional community members. After a recount of the offence, its ramifications are discussed and an appropriate community service outcome plan agreed upon. The research explored this restorative justice programme from the perspectives of functional linguistics and performance studies, combining close textual analysis with ethnographic research methodologies. We focus on the dialectic of theory and practice enacted in this research, highlighting some of the results of our enquiries and reflecting on the ways it stimulated development of our theory, descriptions and representations. This work is then extended in relation to the negotiation of an apology by the young offender to their victim in conference interaction.
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Rispondere alle sfi de che il manifestarsi di fenomeni di violenza pone alle società democratiche e ai loro valori espliciti richiede interventi coordinati, in grado di affrontare le varie componenti socio-economiche e psicologiche, anche in contesti interculturali and interreligiosi; è necessario un approccio articolato che contempli sia la reintegrazione dei colpevoli, sia una maggior attenzione alle vittime.1 Con la sua prosodia semantica positiva sui temi della conciliazione, dell’armonia, della ricostituzione di equilibri sociali grazie a soluzioni alternative e della crescita personale grazie ad atteggiamenti socialmente proattivi, la Restorative Justice (RJ),2 o Giustizia Riparatrice – variamente defi nita transformative justice, relational justice, community justice, and peacemaking justice – ha esercitato una forte infl uenza ideologica sull’attività programmatica delle Nazioni Unite prima e dell’Unione Europea in tema di giustizia, fi no ad apparire un’alternativa perseguibile alla giustizia retributiva. Di particolare interesse per questo studio di orientamento cross-culturale e focalizzato sulla mediazione come forma di comunicazione situata e localizzata, sono le questioni della qualifi cazione del mediatore e della confi denzialità. Gli standard minimi comuni di qualifi cazione richiedono oltre ad un’etica rigorosa del mediatore, una conoscenza dei principi e fi ni e delle fasi e dei vari metodi della mediazione, e una competenza di base del sistema giudiziario, unitamente ad un corretto atteggiamento e ad abilità di mediazione ben articolate. Il mediatore dovrà avere appropriate tecniche per comunicare proficuamente con le vittime, i colpevoli e tutte le persone coinvolte nel processo, gestendone le reazioni psicologiche: le capacità di espressione verbale appaiono quindi centrali nel processo di mediazione, e tali competenze devono essere certificabili e spendibili sul territorio europeo. Le pratiche discorsive del linguaggio legale, in riferimento anche a fattori contestuali sono oggetto di crescente interesse critico soprattutto per quel che concerne l’interdiscorsività (Bahtia 2010). Tuttavia, come questo studio cercherà di chiarire, nonostante la condivisione di obiettivi e requisiti fondamentali per il processo di mediazione, l’ Italia si discosta dagli altri paesi soprattutto per le modalità di comunicazione e condivisione di tali processi e pratiche (Abbamonte, Cavaliere 2012): l’enfasi forse eccessiva, o meglio, come vedremo, un fraintendimento sulla confidenzialità crea soprattutto in Italia un conflitto con un valore intrinseco della RJ, ossia la condivisione sociale.
What actually happens in counselling interactions? How does counselling bring about change? How do clients end up producing new and alternative stories of their lives and relationships? By addressing these questions and others, this book explores the narrative counselling process in the context where it is enacted: the unfolding conversation between counsellor and clients. Through a transdisciplinary approach that combines conversation analysis and systemic functional linguistic theory, Muntigl demonstrates how language is used in couples counselling, how language use changes over the course of counselling, and how this process provides clients with new linguistic resources that help them change their social relationships. This book will be a valuable resource not only for linguists and discourse analysts, but also for researchers and practitioners in the fields of counselling, psychotherapy, psychology, and medicine.
Embraced with zeal by a wide array of activists and policymakers, the restorative justice movement has made promises to reduce the disproportionate rates of Aboriginal involvement in crime and the criminal justice system and to offer a healing model suitable to Aboriginal communities. Such promises should be the focus of considerable critical analysis and evaluation, yet this kind of scrutiny has largely been absent. 'Will the Circle be Unbroken?' explores and confronts the potential and pitfalls of restorative justice, offering a much-needed critical perspective. Drawing on their shared experiences working with Aboriginal communities, Jane Dickson-Gilmore and Carol LaPrairie examine the outcomes of restorative justice projects, paying special attention to such prominent programs as conferencing, sentencing circles, and healing circles. They also look to Aboriginal justice reforms in other countries, comparing and contrasting Canadian reforms with the restorative efforts in New Zealand, Australia, and the United States. 'Will the Circle be Unbroken?' provides a comprehensive overview of the critical issues in Aboriginal and restorative justice, placing these in the context of community. It examines the essential role of community in furthering both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal aspirations for restorative justice.
This article explores the limits of ‘reintegrative shaming’ and family conferencing as encapsulated in the ‘Wagga Model’ currently popular in Australia. I question the relevance of the model to the task of reducing the over-representation of Aboriginal people in custody. I argue that the model represents an ‘Orientalist’ appropriation of a Maori decolonizing process and is based on a one-dimensional reading of the New Zealand experience which involved a significant reduction in police powers. The product being franchised in Australia (and marketed internationally) promises to intensify rather than reduce police controls over Aboriginal people. There is also danger in assuming that all indigenous peoples are amenable to conference-style resolutions and that all operate within shaming structures of social control