Teen Court Components
Sanctions are the offending youth’s consequences as determined by the jury members after they have heard the case information and completed deliberation. As with sentencing in the formal juvenile or adult court, there are certain judgments that are required and certain judgments that are discretionary - based on the offense, the victim’s input and the youth’s attitude and circumstances. Required sanctions include payment of a program fee, service as a jury member, maintaining passing grades, attending a class designed to address the offending behavior, apologies to the victim and to the parent, and completion of skill packets based on the assessment scores.
Teen Court youth give back to the community and make efforts to repair the harm caused by their behavior. In part, this reparation comes in the form of service to the community by assisting at local non-profit agencies. Teen Court operates with Community Service Points and the youth must earn points in the categories of Education, Enrichment and Accountability.
VIEW COMMUNITY SERVICE OPTIONS for Adams, Clay, Fillmore, Nuckolls, and Webster Counties.
Monetary restoration may be part of a Teen Court sanction. The county attorney is responsible for making contact with the victim to determine the amount of restitution requested. In Teen Court cases, the staff will also make contact with the victim and encourage them to be part of court process either in person or with a written statement. It is important for all parties that the victim’s voice is heard and that restitution and repair are made.
Teen Court youth are sanctioned to complete educational classes or activities that address their behaviors and attitudes, and encourage them to examine the effects of their offense. Depending on their offense, youth are directed to complete substance abuse education, conflict resolution and/or mediation, and interviews with loss prevention personnel followed by an essay. Adams County Teen Court has partnered with other area agencies and businesses to provide these services to our youth.
Teen Court volunteers are between the ages of 14 and 19 and involved in an educational program within Adams County. They all receive basic training and can be involved in additional training if they are interested in serving in the attorney role. The basic training includes general information about Teen Court and Restorative Justice, and specific information about the hearing process. Teen Court training stresses confidentiality and each hearing includes an oath of confidentiality. Participation in Teen Court as a volunteer provides youth with a unique perspective on the justice system, allows them to be a positive role model, gives them an opportunity to influence their community, and develop leadership and public speaking skills.
Research clearly indicates that a healthy relationship with an adult role model can make a positive and lasting difference in a youth’s life. Teen Court youth can be matched with a mentor who will assist them in completing their sanctions while providing support for positive change in their attitudes and behaviors. Our mentors have completed an application process, a background check, interview and training. The expectation is that the mentor/mentee relationship will continue until the Teen Court sanctions are completed. If the pair wants to continue, they will be referred to another community mentoring program such as Big Brothers Big Sisters for support.