Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Social work with juvenile delinquents, Restorative justice, Attribution (Social psychology), Punishment in crime deterrence, Social justice, Juvenile delinquency, Prisoners, Social work practice, Attribution theory, Deterrence theory, Social justice theory, Responsive regulation theory, Juvenile crime, Youth incarceration


This project examined the problem of juvenile crime and incarceration. I explored how two Criminal Justice theories—Attribution theory and Deterrence theory—support and explain the problem, and how two Social Work theories—Social Justice theory and Responsive Regulation theory—offer an alternative view and solution to the problem. I explained the principles and program models of Restorative Justice and strived to understand why there are so few Social Workers involved in Restorative Justice programs. Through this work, I addressed the following questions: with Restorative Justice carrying similar values as the Social Work profession, why are Social Workers not involved in Restorative Justice programs? How can Social Workers become more involved? And how can Restorative Justice more readily be used in the Social Work profession—especially in the area or youth crime and incarceration? The purpose of this project was to examine and explore how Restorative Justice contributes to Social Work practice and how the use of Restorative Justice practices can improve the capacity of Social Work as a field to attend to the problem of youth crime and incarceration. The findings of this project show how little research has been conducted on Social Workers' involvement in Restorative Justice programs. Professional Social Work's direct involvement with the Criminal Justice system has declined markedly in the past 40 years, however Social Workers continue to have contact with individuals, families, and communities who are affected by crime and the Criminal Justice system. Restorative Justice offers a holistic approach toward work in corrections in which justice for the victim, offender, and the community are all relevant.




iii, 55 pages. Thesis (M.S.W.)-Smith College School for Social Work, 2014. Includes bibliographical references (pages 49-55)