Courts: A National Movement
youth court programs have existed in the United States for over half a
century, their number has grown strikingly in the past few years, in part
as a result of increased support at the Federal level. Currently, more
than 450 youth court programs are operating with some 100 additional programs
in development. The majority are grassroots efforts, reflecting the fact
that communities see youth court as an effective means for holding youth
accountable for delinquent and criminal behavior.
courts give communities an opportunity to impose immediate consequences
on first-time youthful offenders and allow young people to accept responsibility
for their actions, build competencies in youth, and protect the community
as part of a graduated sanctions system. Youth courts also present communities
with opportunities to teach young people valuable life and coping skills.
They also promote positive peer influence for youth who are defendants,
as they are being tried by their peers who are trained to serve on the
youth court as volunteers. These volunteers serve in a variety of roles
that include defense and prosecuting attorneys, court clerks, bailiffs,
jurors, and, in some courts, even as judges. In participating in these
roles, the students have a learning experience at the same time that they
are helping fellow students. Also, the youth court has an important rehabilitative
component that helps to raise the self-esteem of youth who have completed
their sentences by asking them to serve on the court. A training program
is provided to every youth prior to their service on the court that takes
them through the court process and its functions, e.g, role of volunteers,
case preparation, courtroom procedures, purpose of teen court, and the
juvenile justice system.
May 27 teleconference will examine the rapidly expanding youth court concept
as a potentially effective strategy in a graduated sanctions model for
juvenile offenders. Effective practices in youth court programs will be
highlighted including examples of several different youth court models
from San Francisco, California; Odessa, Texas; and Colonie, New York. Youth
court directors and national leaders will interact by telephone with the
viewing audience during the live telecast.
Youth Courts: A National Movement satellite teleconference was designed
The Juvenile Justice Teleconference
For More information, please contact:
Jenny McWilliams at 859-622-6671
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