Youth Courts: Generational Agents for Change
High schoolers from 14 counties will meet in Santa Cruz June 23-25 for the 2016 Youth Court Summit. This program is the largest in the 11-year history of the summit, sponsored by the Judicial Council of California and the California Association of Youth Courts. Media interested in attending the summit, or interested in learning more about county-specific programs, may contact Donna Strobel, Judicial Council Center for Families, Children & the Courts.
Youth Court program representatives attending, by county:
What is Youth Court?
Youth court, also known as peer or teen court, is an alternative approach to the traditional juvenile justice system. Under the supervision of a judge, defendant youths can forgo the hearing and sentencing procedures of juvenile court and agree to a sentencing forum with a jury of their peers. Trained youth volunteers also play the parts of the district attorney and public defender.
These courts usually handle nonviolent first-time defendants accused of shoplifting, vandalism, starting schoolyard fights, and or other crimes unlikely to be prosecuted otherwise. In 1991, there were only two youth courts in California; there are nearly 70 statewide and 1,400 nationwide. Learn more on the California Courts website.