Date of Graduation

Winter 12-14-2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in International Studies


International Studies

First Advisor

Dorothy Kidd


This research project looks at community-level remedial strategies addressing high youth incarceration and recidivism rates in the cities of Cape Town and New Orleans. Working within a theoretical framework of structural violence, I argue that the dominant discourse of Criminal Justice is based in punitive and retributive methodologies that have severe and long term implications for the psychological and social well being of detained youth, as well as the communities to which they return after imprisonment. My aim was to take a ‘bottom-up’ approach and examine the community-based projects in the two cities, which are developing counter-hegemonic knowledge and practices based on the experiences of youth themselves and their base communities. The findings suggests that there are strong similarities between the community-based methods in Cape Town and New Orleans, in which elements of restorative justice are utilized towards enhancing positive youth agency and civic engagement to reduce recidivism. The thesis contributes to a growing body of research that promotes individual, community and policy development informed by the experiential knowledge of communities who are impacted by the increasing criminalization of youth, and particularly youth of color.

Included in

Criminology Commons