Teen Court is a voluntary program that assists teenage offenders, ages 10-18, in assuming responsibility for their behavior through involvement in the judicial process and service in the community. First time offenders are brought before a jury of their peers where they are sentenced to constructive service and from this they gain an understanding of their roles in society. Additionally, the community reciprocally benefits from these youths’ involvement in their programs. Each individual’s self-worth will be maintained by respectful treatment and confidentiality. Teen court has been established to add a new concept of diversion and accountability for our juvenile offenders. Young people participating in the program will function as constructive and contributing members of their community. The program seeks to minimize the negative labeling of referred youth.
Goals of Teen Court
- assisting teen offenders in recognizing that they are responsible for their behavior;
- the consequences they experience are a direct result of their own actions;
- promote a positive attitude toward authority by showing respect, courtesy, confidentiality and dignity to all individuals;
- provide a forum for teens to experience the judiciary system and, in the process, reduce the likelihood of youth committing repeat offenses; and
- establish positive relationships between the community and its youth, the results of which are better understanding and communication.