Rites of passion
remorse, apology and forgiveness in Youth Justice Conferencing
Keywords:functional linguistics, apology, remorse, forgiveness, adolescent offenders
Youth Justice Conferencing is a form of diversionary justice for adolescent offenders introduced in New South Wales, Australia in 1997. In Youth Justice Conferences adolescent offenders meet with their victim and other relevant members of the community to discuss relatively minor offences and work out some form of community service by way of reparation (instead of going to court, getting a criminal record, and possibly serving time in juvenile detention). For some commentators conferences are interpreted as a rite of passage involving a passion play of remorse, apology and forgiveness as young offenders are positioned to say sorry for what they have done. This paper explores from a functional linguistic perspective what might be involved in an exchange of feelings of this kind, taking into account recordings of conference practice explored in Zappavigna and Martin (2018).
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