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(Re) Constructing Youth Offender Identities through Digital Storytelling in a Restorative Conferencing Program


This dissertation study contributes to the research on restorative conferencing with youth offenders by exploring the ways digital storytelling provided unique opportunities for participants in the Young New Yorkers program to engage in restorative justice values and critically reflect on their crime. Using narrative identity theory as a theoretical lens, and multimodality as an analytic framework, findings suggest that the YNY program's curriculum scaffolds restorative justice values through a narrative identity work to assist participants in the deconstruction of their crimes. Analysis of participant digital stories demonstrated participants took personal responsibility for their crimes and were able to identify the individual and environmental factors which promoted their criminal behavior. Further, participants were able to critically reflect on their offense and enhance their capacity to contribute to and work in collaboration with others in their community. Findings from this study highlight the affordances of digital storytelling as a practice for engaging youth in re-storying their offender identities promoting the development of a prosocial identity.

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