California Association of Youth Courts
Source: California Association of Youth Courts
Resource Type: Website or Webpage Article
Focus Population: People with Criminal Justice System Involvement, Youth, Youth of Transition Age
Topics: Criminal or Juvenile Justice System, Trauma-informed
Youth Court is a cost-effective community investment to reduce crime and build assets in our youth. It does so by diverting young offenders – referred by probation, law enforcement and schools – away from the formal juvenile justice system to a community-based system. Student volunteers, aged 12-18, are trained as advocates, bailiffs, jurors, jury forepersons, court clerks, attorneys and judges, to lead all aspects of the Youth Court program. A youth charged with an offense, such as vandalism or possession of drugs, may avoid traditional pitfalls of juvenile court by opting to accept a trial before a jury of teen peers. With a restorative justice and trauma-informed focus, Youth Court volunteers help teen offenders to be accountable for their actions, reflect on their poor choices, identify their personal strengths and commit to repairing damage done, while restoring relations with families, schools and communities.