Teen Court provides a positive, locally managed alternative to the traditional juvenile system.
Adams County Teen Court is a Diversion program for first time offending youth who admit their guilt and are referred by the Adams County Attorney’s office. It is based on the Restorative Justice Model. Teen Court provides offending youth with an opportunity to experience the judiciary system and reduces the likelihood they will reoffend. If the youth successfully completes Teen Court, they avoid having a juvenile record.
“Teen Court has been a good experience for my son. They modified the program to help my child. Teen Court has made my son be more aware of his actions and helped him to be accountable for his actions.” – Hannah, the parent of a sanctioned youth
The youth who are referred to Teen Court have their case heard by a jury of their peers who determine the appropriate sanctions. The 90 day program is designed to help the youth:
- Acknowledge and accept responsibility for their actions
- Develop pro-social attitudes and behaviors
- Understand how their decisions impact their lives, their family and their community
- Reduce the likelihood of reoffending and going deeper into the juvenile justice system.
Teen Court Volunteers, who make up the peer jury and serve as attorneys and bailiffs, are students who have been trained and understand the hearing process, confidentiality and conflict of interest. Volunteering presents an opportunity to develop leadership and public speaking skills as well as provide a positive influence in the community. Reference letters and honors can be earned.