Youth Courts Helping Keep Kids in School
Youth court leaders, judges, youth court staff, volunteers, education and youth-focused organizations, and community service leaders will gather in Santa Cruz this June to share best practices for youth courts. The 2016 Youth Court Summit, "Generational Agents for Change," takes place June 23-25, at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Summit participants will learn about practices relating to juvenile court diversion, truancy prevention, and civic engagement, while those interested in starting a youth court will learn how.
The summit comes when youth courts are emerging as the fastest-growing juvenile intervention program in the United States, handling as much as 25% of all juvenile arrests this year. Also known as peer courts, student courts, or teen courts, they use restorative justice practices designed and driven by students, and their impact is getting attention from courts and educators; and California's Chief Justice.
The YMCA Youth Court holds incredible promise—the lack of recidivism and the 95% success rate is unprecedented. This is criminal realignment, this is where it starts. It is the seed of a program like this that is the solution to California’s public safety problem, criminal justice and prison overcrowding. This program should be replicated across the 58 counties of California.”
— Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye on her visit to the Marin County Youth Court, a program of the YMCA Restorative Services Department (view video).
Peer Pressure: Diverting Youth from Juvenile Court
Youth tried by their peers are more likely to take responsibility for their actions, more proactive in making changes in their lives, and less likely to engage in additional delinquent behavior, movement supporters report. These specialty courts also help free up resources needed to serve youth involved in more serious offenses.
California Youth Summit Looks to Expand Movement
Law enforcement, educators, and the courts are increasingly turning to youth court programs that keep kids in school and out of the courtroom. That is why the Judicial Council and CYAC host the annual training summit, helping sustain and grow the movement.
The registration deadline is June 6, 2016.