Relational Decision Making in Female Delinquents: Implications for Restorative Justice

Rebecca Maniglia, University of Illinois at Chicago

In recent years, the principles of restorative justice have increasingly influenced the nature of juvenile justice program development in the United States. This relational model of crime intervention reflects similar ideals as those found in recent movements to provide gender appropriate programming to adolescent female delinquents. This paper examines the overlap between the restorative justice principle of moral decisions as relational and the feminist work asserting relational decision making in young women. Results from interviews with young women incarcerated in a juvenile institution in a western state are used to reaffirm elements of relational morality found in other studies and to assert that the voices of female delinquents also reflect a morality influenced by traditional law and order expectations of juvenile justice, thus offering a new dialect in the literature on women's distinctive moral voice. It is this emerging inflection that provides important implications for the use of restorative justice practices with young women in the juvenile justice system.

(Return to Program Resources)

Updated 05/20/2006