Youth court diversion programs are intended to offer an alternative to the traditional juvenile justice system and school disciplinary proceedings. Typically, youth court offenders are first-time offenders between ages 11 and 17 who have been charged with misdemeanor or status offenses, with offenses including theft, vandalism, disorderly conduct, assault, and possession of marijuana. Additionally, youth courts have been used to handle school disciplinary issues, underage drinking, and tobacco possession cases Youth Courts: An Empirical Update and Analysis of Future Organizational and Research Needs , Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention-Sponsored, Youth court diversion programs offer an avenue for engaging the community in a partnership with the juvenile justice system to respond to the problem of juvenile crime by 1 increasing awareness of the delinquency issues within the local community, and 2 mobilizing community members including youth to take an active role in addressing the problem of juvenile crime within the community Peer Justice and Youth Empowerment: An Implementation Guide for Teen Court Programs , Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
Youth courts serve as immediate intervention with minor offenders who can be diverted from the juvenile justice system. These courts fill an intervention gap in many jurisdictions in which heavy caseloads and the need to focus on more serious offenders result in a low priority for the enforcement of misdemeanor charges. Youth courts provide immediate sanctions, holding young persons accountable for minor delinquent acts in a positive manner, while extending that accountability to the community—usually in the form of community service. Thus they hold considerable promise as an immediate intervention in a graduated sanctions system. Youth courts operate using one of four main case-processing models: adult judge, youth judge, tribunal, or peer jury for detailed descriptions of these models, see Fisher, ; see also Goodwin, Youth courts were established with the expectation that they would be able to reduce delinquency by bringing peer pressure to bear on youngsters involved in minor delinquent acts.
Special Feature: Youth/Teen Court Diversion Programs
Teen courts, also known as youth courts, student courts, and peer courts are structured alternative forums where youth can adjudicate peer crimes. Teen courts date back to the s, but did not come to national attention until the s. The programs in the s grew out of efforts promulgated by the American Bar Association to hold youth accountable for their actions before they develop a pattern of law-breaking behavior.
We'd like to understand how you use our websites in order to improve them. Register your interest. Processing juvenile offenders in the traditional justice system can lead to a range of negative consequences. As an alternative to formal criminal processing, many jurisdictions have begun to implement diversion programs for first-time or low-level offenders.