Teen Court is often a voluntary alternative to the juvenile justice and criminal justice system for young people who have committed a crime or offense. Teen Court is designed to intervene in early anti-social, delinquent, and criminal behavior, and to reduce the incidence and prevent the escalation of such behavior. It strives to promote self esteem and imporvement, and to foster a healthy attitude toward authority.
Any youth who admits guilt to a crime or an offense, appears for a sentencing hearing before a jury of peers. The jury passes sentence once presented with evidence relevant to sentencing. Sentencing may include community service, letters of apology, essays, teen court jury duty, restitution, and participation in educational awareness classes.
Teen Court cannot sentence any youth to a detention facility or jail.
An adult serves as coordinator for the program. An offender, jurors and other youth may serve as judge, prosecutor, defender, bailiff and jury foreman.
Typical cases handled by Teen Court include: shoplifting/theft; illegal alcohol possession; criminal mischief; vandalism/property damage; possession of small amounts of marijuana; disorderly conduct; and truancy.
Contact Antonia Hernandez, Teen Court Executive Director, 575.647.2154.