Youth Voice Journal (YVJ™) is the world's leading peer-reviewed journal publishing theoretical contributions and empirical studies on international issues affecting young people and youth work. YVJ™ is published by RJ4All Publications and is ranked and indexed by Scopus, ORCID, Kudos, Criminal Justice Abstracts, EBSCO and ERIH PLUS.

Laura Van Raemdonck & Mariam Seedat Khan (2017) “Investigating the process of juvenile delinquency in Durban, South Africa: Insights from the Capability Approach”

In this study, the Capability Approach is applied as a comprehensive investigative framework for the purpose of understanding juvenile delinquency in Durban, South Africa. The Capability Approach measures justice by focusing on a person’s capabilities and agency freedom. The use of a justice theory model revealed innovative insights in comparison to the largely applied crime theories. This study adopted a qualitative research methodology. Eleven in-depth interviews were undertaken with six ex-juvenile offenders on an integration programme, organised by a Durban based NGO ‘YMCA’. Furthermore, five YMCA employees were interviewed. We found that juveniles’ deprived capabilities – lack of educational opportunities, lack of job opportunities and the absence of positive social networks – directly influence their agency freedom to reach a life they have reason to value. This study contends that the reason they engage in crime is motivated by their failure to secure legal conduits to cope with deprived capabilities or legal ways to activate their agency freedom in order to achieve an elementary life they reason to value. Consequently, the findings endorse preventive interventions that diminish inequalities and interventions that assist ex-juvenile offenders to legally enhance their agency in order to reach a life they reason to value.

Key Words

Capability Approach, juvenile delinquency, risk factors, juvenile justice, agency freedom

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About Youth Voice Journal

Youth Voice Journal is an international, multidisciplinary, refereed journal that publishes theoretical contributions and empirical studies on international issues affecting young people. In particular, the Journal aims to: - provide a medium, especially for young researchers and young academics, to inform debates around social policy through high quality research; - provide a platform for the intellectual exchange of ideas around the globe with the aim of influencing policies and practices; - actively encourage and aide those young people whose voice is rarely heard by policy makers to contribute to the journal. Youth Voice Journal is published by RJ4All Publications and edited by Dr. Theo Gavrielides.

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This entry was posted on May 2, 2017 by in Citizenship.

ISSN: 2056-2969

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RJ4All Publications is a non-profit independent, publisher that was founded by Dr. Theo Gavrielides. It specialises in social sciences and research studies, has a  restorative justice series and is the publisher of the peer reviewed Youth Voice Journal.  


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