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Teen Court of Pennsylvania Perspective. What Is a Youth Court? A juvenile intervention program in which youth are sentenced by their peers in collaboration.

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Presentation on theme: "Teen Court of Pennsylvania Perspective. What Is a Youth Court? A juvenile intervention program in which youth are sentenced by their peers in collaboration."— Presentation transcript:

1 Teen Court of Pennsylvania Perspective

2 What Is a Youth Court? A juvenile intervention program in which youth are sentenced by their peers in collaboration with adults. Also referred to as: Teen court Peer court Student court

3 Common Youth Volunteer Roles in Youth Court Hearings* Defense Attorney (youth advocate) Defense Attorney (youth advocate) Prosecuting Attorney (community advocate) Prosecuting Attorney (community advocate) Clerk Clerk Bailiff Bailiff Jurors Jurors Sometimes, a youth judge Sometimes, a youth judge *Volunteer roles will vary according to the program model the youth court utilizes. *Volunteer roles will vary according to the program model the youth court utilizes.

4 What Makes Youth Courts Appealing? Serves as a prevention and early intervention program Serves as a prevention and early intervention program Offers a way to hold juvenile offenders accountable Offers a way to hold juvenile offenders accountable Provides a means for educating youth on the legal and judicial system Provides a means for educating youth on the legal and judicial system Provides a meaningful forum for youth to build competencies and practice and enhance skills Provides a meaningful forum for youth to build competencies and practice and enhance skills Offers an avenue for youth to provide service for and build ties to their communities Offers an avenue for youth to provide service for and build ties to their communities Youth empowerment Youth empowerment

5 Youth Courts in PA 18 Teen Court Programs in Pennsylvania

6 Location of Youth Courts Locally Juvenile Justice System-Based Juvenile Justice System-Based CourtsCourts Law Enforcement AgenciesLaw Enforcement Agencies Juvenile Probation DepartmentsJuvenile Probation Departments Community-Based Community-Based Private Non Profit OrganizationsPrivate Non Profit Organizations School-Based School-Based School referrals also made to JJ and local Community Based.

7 To Find a Youth Court Near You… Log on to Log on to Click on the “National Listing of Youth Courts” button on the left side of page Click on the “National Listing of Youth Courts” button on the left side of page Click Pennsylvania and find contact information. Click Pennsylvania and find contact information.

8 Common Elements Juvenile Diversion programs Juvenile Diversion programs Primary First-time low-level offenders – 1 st or 2 nd step in a system of graduated sanctions Primary First-time low-level offenders – 1 st or 2 nd step in a system of graduated sanctions Misdemeanor, non-violent cases Misdemeanor, non-violent cases Most Require youth to admit to charge Most Require youth to admit to charge Most are Voluntary participation Most are Voluntary participation Parental consent/participation mandatory in most Parental consent/participation mandatory in most

9 POM Tobacco Assault Alcohol Disorderly Conduct Vandalism Theft 95% 87% 81% 75% 71% 67% 62% Types of Offenses 56% 48% 42% Traffic School Disciplinary Curfew

10 Common Sentencing Options More meaningful Community Service that are project oriented More meaningful Community Service that are project oriented Oral/Written Apologies to victims Oral/Written Apologies to victims Essays on the crime, offense or violation(s) they were referred to youth court for Essays on the crime, offense or violation(s) they were referred to youth court for Jury Duty in Youth Court Jury Duty in Youth Court Educational Workshops on laws and consequences Educational Workshops on laws and consequences

11 Additional Sentencing Options Restitution Restitution Alcohol/Drug Assessment – not treatment, as those cases should not be handled in youth court unless no other sanction/service exists. Alcohol/Drug Assessment – not treatment, as those cases should not be handled in youth court unless no other sanction/service exists. Curfew Curfew Tutoring Tutoring Victim Awareness Class or Panel Victim Awareness Class or Panel Drug Testing Drug Testing Peer Mediation Peer Mediation

12 Youth volunteers serve in the roles of: Youth volunteers serve in the roles of: Defense AttorneysDefense Attorneys Prosecuting AttorneysProsecuting Attorneys ClerksClerks BailiffsBailiffs JurorsJurors Adult volunteer serves in the role of: Adult volunteer serves in the role of: JudgeJudge Adult Judge Model

13 Youth volunteers serve in the role of: Youth volunteers serve in the role of: JudgeJudge Prosecuting AttorneysProsecuting Attorneys Defense AttorneysDefense Attorneys ClerksClerks BailiffsBailiffs JurorsJurors Youth Judge Model

14 Youth volunteers serve in the roles of: Youth volunteers serve in the roles of: Judge(s)Judge(s) Defense AttorneysDefense Attorneys Prosecuting AttorneysProsecuting Attorneys ClerksClerks BailiffsBailiffs There is NO PEER JURY There is NO PEER JURY Youth Tribunal Model

15 Youth volunteers serve as jurors and question the defendant directly Youth volunteers serve as jurors and question the defendant directly Some programs use youth and community advocates Some programs use youth and community advocates Peer Jury Model

16 Federal Youth Court Program Serves as an information clearinghouse for information on youth courts Serves as an information clearinghouse for information on youth courts Provides training and technical assistance Provides training and technical assistance Develops and provides resources and publications Develops and provides resources and publications Website: Website:

17 Training and Technical Assistance Pennsylvania Training Programs to Implement or Enhance a Youth Court. Pennsylvania Training Programs to Implement or Enhance a Youth Court PBA/PBI Law Day Booklet Lesson: You be the Judge and Jury – pg PBA/PBI Law Day Booklet Lesson: You be the Judge and Jury – pg. 20 Technical Assistance Technical Assistance Administrative and Operational Guides and curriculum.Administrative and Operational Guides and curriculum. Widener Harrisburg School of Law is working in cooperation in setting up a Pennsylvania statewide organization. Widener Harrisburg School of Law is working in cooperation in setting up a Pennsylvania statewide organization.

18 Other Resources Online training lessons Online training lessons Youth Deliberation processYouth Deliberation process Case preparation techniques for teen attorneysCase preparation techniques for teen attorneys Website Website United_states/Pennsylvania.pdfhttp://www.youthcourt.net/national_listing/ United_states/Pennsylvania.pdfhttp://www.youthcourt.net/national_listing/ United_states/Pennsylvania.pdfhttp://www.youthcourt.net/national_listing/ United_states/Pennsylvania.pdf Federal Youth Court Database to include local and state data and over 6,500 individuals. Federal Youth Court Database to include local and state data and over 6,500 individuals.

19 Support for Youth Court Programs Federal funding [the U.S. Department of Education, Transportation, Health and Human Services and Justice] annually provides approximately $650,000 for the coordination of the National Youth Court program. Local youth courts are funded by a wide variety of means, but the local programs exist mostly through the volunteer effort of involved youth and adults.

20 Support for Youth Court Programs Contacts Federal Youth Court Program Website: Phi Alpha Delta Public Service Center Baltimore, Maryland – Carole Collins, Director U.S. Department of Justice/OJJDP Demonstration Division Scott B. Peterson, Pennsylvania Teen Court Association David Keller Trevaskis, Esquire

21 William Higgins, Jr., Esquire Bedford County District Attorney 205 Juliana Street Bedford, PA


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