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Youth Court Resources

Philadelphia City Council Committee on Public Safety Adopts Report on Youth Courts, October 2012
This report was adopted on Oct. 16, 2012, during a public meeting of the Committee on Public Safety of the Philadelphia City Council. The report presents recommendations for Philadelphia to move forward in integrating youth courts into existing institutions and summarizes the verbal and written testimony given by 17 panelists, including PBA President Thomas G. Wilkinson Jr., at the June 19, 2012, hearings held by the City Council of Philadelphia's Committee on Public Safety. The hearings addressed how youth courts could reduce juvenile recidivism rates, violence in schools and bullying and have an effect on the expenses of incarceration by engaging and empowering previously disconnected youth in a participatory and democratic system. The report of the Committee on Public Safety is to be submitted to the full council for ratification.

PBA House of Delegates Approves Resolution on Promotion of Youth Courts, May 2011
On May 6, 2011, the PBA House of Delegates approved a resolution in favor of promoting Youth Courts. Click here for the resolution, which requires that:

  1. the PBA endorse the ABA's efforts to promote youth courts as demonstrated in the ABA's Feb. 14, 2011, resolution, which was unanimously approved by the ABA House of Delegates;
  2. that the PBA recognize the unique aspects of youth courts in Pennsylvania as reflected in the March/April 2011 Pennsylvania Lawyer magazine article, which shows that there are already existing, and in many cases long-established, school and community/juvenile justice-based youth courts in Pennsylvania that need support and that need to be consulted as youth court efforts in Pennsylvania move forward;
  3. as a sign of that support, the PBA shall organize and convene before the end of the 2011 calendar year a statewide Youth Court Advisory Board made up of the various youth court stakeholders, including but not limited to judges, lawyers, elected representatives, police and probation officers, educators, students, faith-based and philanthropic leaders, and others from the law, justice and education communities, including parents;
  4. recognizing that the Interbranch Commission on Juvenile Justice Report specifically called on the PBA to develop programs that bridge civic education and juvenile justice, it is further resolved that the PBA promote a system of both school-based and community/juvenile justice-based youth courts across the commonwealth;
  5. building on the conflict resolution, anti-bullying and law-related education model of the PBA's Project PEACE, youth courts shall be encouraged to be introduced as school-based programs in the junior and senior high schools of the commonwealth as well as in various other settings for juvenile offenders for community/juvenile justice youth courts;
  6. the PBA further resolves that where school-based youth courts exist, community/juvenile justice youth courts need to be developed; where community/juvenile justice-based youth courts exist, school-based ones need encouragement; where none exist, either type should be started with the goal of adding the missing type as soon as possible;
  7. since legislation supporting youth courts is currently being discussed among members of the General Assembly and youth court supporters around the state, it is further resolved that the PBA encourage such efforts, as well as
  8. support the public/private partnership to expand and improve the sustainability of youth courts across Pennsylvania.

Youth Court Resources from the ABA

ABA Resolution on Youth Courts
As passed by the ABA House of Delegates Feb. 14, 2011, at the ABA Midyear Meeting, Atlanta, Ga.)

ABA Article, Feb. 13, 2011: "Youth Courts: The Positive Power of Intervention"

Video of Retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor Advocating for Youth Courts
Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV

Teen Court: A National Movement
A 12 page technical assistance Bulletin from the American Bar Association - developed in 2000.

How to Run a Youth Court
This is a Web page developed by the Stoneleigh Foundation that includes videos and training materials intended for teachers, law professionals, students, community members and anyone interested in learning essential skills to run a successful youth court.

Teen Court Training Manual

Policy Makers Support Youth Justice Growth: Recommendations for Teen Courts, Youth Courts Peer Courts and Peer Panels
This 10-page policy brief from 2004 provides perspectives from local, state and federal policy makers. It describes types of support that can be offered to programs and how to market the program to policy makers on various levels. This policy brief was funded and published by the Office of Juvenile Justice/U.S. Department of Justice and the American Probation and Parole Association under the direction of Global Youth Justice's Scott Bernard Peterson.

Click here for an Oct. 18, 2011, New York Times commentary, "Where Teenagers Find the Jury Isn't Rigged," by Tina Rosenberg that discusses some of the costs, consequences and benefits of youth courts.

National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) provides an online compilation of resources focusing on youth courts.

Youth Court: A Path to Civic Engagement
A 2003 Policy Brief from the National Youth Court Center

Teen Courts and Law Related Education

"The First Report to the Nation on Youth Courts and Teen Courts": 15-year update, 1993 to 2008; written, compiled and researched by Scott B. Peterson and Jill Beres, 2008.

Youth Courts: An Empirical Update and Analysis of Future Organizational and Research Needs
From the Hamilton Fish Institute on School and Community Violence, this report is an attempt to add to our knowledge of youth courts by looking at questions concerning their operation; the extent of volunteer activity; how they function as they mature; and the amount and types of resources they employ. This report is based on a national survey of youth courts that includes ten (10) questions focused on program outcomes and six (6) operational and administrative questions. From these questions, the OJJDP can provide policy makers and court practitioners with guidance on how to build and sustain an organizational structure that allows youth courts to successfully fulfill their mission of preventing young offenders from repeating antisocial behaviors, while relying on volunteers and even ex-offenders, to be part of the process.

National Association of Youth Courts - Home
Welcome to YouthCourt.net, the World's Largest and Most Comprehensive Website on Youth Courts, Teen Courts, Peer Courts and Student Courts

Youth Court Websites - National Association of Youth Courts
A list and links to Youth Court web sites throughout the U.S.

Global Youth Justice
Teen, Peer, Youth and Student Court Programs
Promote the global expansion of quality juvenile justice programs commonly referred to as youth court, teen court, peer court, student court, youth peer jury, and youth peer panel. This is the mission and fundamental purpose of Global Youth Justice, LLC.

State Youth Court Associations- National Association of Youth Courts
State Youth Court Associations and Networking Groups

Alabama Center for Law and Civic Education
The Alabama Center for Law & Civic Education (ACLCE) is dedicated to teaching civic knowledge, skills, and responsibilities.

ACLCE is a resource and training center dedicated to educating young citizens in civic knowledge in law and government. Since 1990, ACLCE has provided school and community based programs, including We the People (national constitutional law program), Teen Court (peer sentencing court), Street Law (practical law and civic responsibilities curriculum), Project Citizen (public policy action program) and Play by the Rules (PBR).

Alaska - United Youth Courts of Alaska
The mission of the United Youth Courts of Alaska is to work in partnership with Alaskan communities and the formal juvenile justice system to develop and sustain innovative youth courts.

Alaska - North Star Youth Court
North Star Youth Court aims to engage victims, offenders, and the community to restore relationships and reduce the recidivism rate of offenders through an immediate and direct response to juvenile crime. Youth learn about the legal system, mediation and substance abuse. North Star Youth Court promotes community service and leadership and encourages personal accountability and responsibility.

Arizona Teen Court Association - Home
Teen Court associations, Federal Youth Court website, local AZ teen court websites, AZ supreme Court

California Courts: Peer/Youth Courts

California - East Palo Alto Youth Court
The mission of the East Palo Alto Youth Court is to provide a community-based diversion program, in partnership with the City of East Palo, the East Palo Alto Police Department and local schools, through which young people who have committed minor offenses make amends for the harm done and constructively contribute to the East Palo Alto community through positive peer influence and adult assistance.

California - Placer County Peer Court

District of Columbia
Youth Court provides alternative sentencing to first-time juvenile offenders in the District of Columbia and serves as a unique pre-petition diversion program for non-violent offenders. The D.C. Youth Court has a 14-year history of providing successful peer-to-peer services to youth and is recognized as one of the largest youth courts in the nation.

Watch a video on the D.C. Youth Court program.

Click here for an Oct. 13, 2011, New York Times commentary by Tina Rosenberg on the D.C. Youth Court.

Florida Association of Teen Courts, Inc.
The Florida Association of Teen Courts, Inc. was created in 1997 as an organization to assist in addressing issues that faced teen courts individually throughout the state of Florida.

Idaho Youth Court Services Page

Illinois Youth Court Association

Kansas Johnson County Youth Court

Kentucky Teen Court Program

Maryland - The Citizen Law-Related Education Program
The Citizenship Law-Related Education Program for the Schools of Maryland (CLREP) was established in 1975 to promote law-related education in public and private schools. Over the years, CLREP has strived to develop programs that educate kids about the law through "real-world" experience. Students are provided the opportunity to learn how the law plays an integral role in their lives and to further their understanding of, and appreciation for, our constitutional form of government through programs such as the MSBA High School Mock Trial Competition, Law Links Internship, and Baltimore City Teen Court. In addition, CLREP promotes the development and enhancement of essential life skills in students. CLREP is managed by the Professional Development and Training Center, Inc., a nonprofit educational corporation. The staff is available to local school systems, educational groups, and community organizations throughout Maryland as speakers or consultants.

Missouri Teen Courts

New York- Association of New York State Youth Courts
The idea of an Association of New York State Youth Courts was first proposed in 1999. A group of Youth Court staff and supporters felt that New York State Youth Courts needed a cohesive voice to forward this alternative juvenile justice program in the criminal justice system and provide support for all New York State Youth Courts.

New York The Center for Court Innovation - Red Hook Youth Court
Launched in 1998, the Red Hook Youth Court trains local teenagers to serve as jurors, judges and attorneys, handling real-life cases involving their peers. The goal of the Court is to use positive peer pressure to ensure that young people who have committed minor offenses pay back the community and receive the help they need to avoid further involvement in the justice system. Part of the Red Hook Community Justice Center, the Youth Court handles cases involving young people, ages 10 to 18, who have been cited for low-level offenses, such as vandalism, fare evasion, assault and truancy. These are cases that typically receive "YD cards," a police notation that results in neither sanctions nor links to social services. Thanks to a partnership with the New York City Police Department, officers in Brooklyn's 72nd, 76th and 78th precincts refer youth who have admitted their guilt to the Youth Court, where they go before a true jury of their peers.

North Carolina Teen Court Association

Pennsylvania Youth Court Programs

South Dakota Teen Court Association

Tennessee Youth Court Program
Tennessee is working with the Tennessee Legal Community Foundation on establishing local youth court programs across the state. These programs have proven successful in many states and the Bar is excited to be a part of the development of this program in Tennessee. When Tennessee's program started in 2001, there were two youth courts in Tennessee. Now in 2005 there are nine active and three developing programs.

Teen Court Association of Texas
We are a state-wide organization that works to bring people together from across Texas to promote and develop Teen Courts.\nTexas is proud to boast the longest operating Teen Court program in the nation - Odessa Teen Court, which has been in operation since 1972!

Keller Texas Teen Court
video of the Keller, Texas Teen Court Program

Sponsored by the Utah Attorney General. Youth Court is an alternative to the traditional juvenile justice system and school disciplinary proceedings. Youth Court is a resource for at-risk youth who may be referred by police departments, school administration, juvenile courts or parents. Youth referred for minor offenses and who admit their mistakes are sentenced by a panel of their peers.

Youth Court employs a restorative approach to promptly hold referred youth accountable for their actions, to build skills, and to strengthen their ties to school and community. Youth are provided with positive peer influence and appropriate consequences. Youth Court empowers youth and communities to take an active role in addressing the early stages of youth delinquency. Youth Court helps to eliminate social barriers and unite youth throughout the community as they collaborate to intervene with referred youth.

Utah Salt Lake Peer Court
A prevention/intervention program utilized by the Salt Lake City School District. Approximately 300 youth are referred to Peer Court each year. Offenses most commonly referred are: chronic truancy, fighting, disorderly conduct, theft, vandalism, harassment, and tobacco.

A three part program: 1) Court Hearings 2) Peer Mentoring 3) Mediation. An alternative to the traditional juvenile justice system and school disciplinary proceedings using a non-adversarial approach for minor offenses, for youth who are sentenced and mentored by their peers. A restorative justice approach to hold youth accountable for their actions, to build skills, and to strengthen their ties to school and community.

Virginia - Youth Court
Established in January 2003, Youth Court is a juvenile delinquency diversion and peer-justice program. A Virginia non-profit organization, Youth Court is devoted to restorative justice principles--that is, we work to restore the damaged relationship between youthful offenders, their victims, families, and our community. Youth Court is dedicated to rehabilitating first-time offenders, holding young people accountable for their behavior, and educating youth about citizenship, the legal system, and constructive conflict resolution.

West Virginia Teen Court Association
Since July 1, 2006, Teen Court programs from throughout West Virginia have had a place to call home. The West Virginia Teen Court Association works to link new and existing programs together to help share information and collect data on how to effectively deliver justice to youth in our communities who are alleged to have committed a status offense or an act of delinquency which would be considered a misdemeanor if committed by an adult.