WHAT IS YOUTH COURT DIVERSION?
Youth Court Diversion is an alternative system of justice, which offers first-time juvenile offenders an opportunity to take responsibility of their offenses through community-based sentencing options. The program offers first-time offenders who have admitted to a minor offense and agree to participate in the program to be heard and judge before a panel of their peers. Youth Court Diversion does not determine guilt or innocence; rather it recommends a constructive sentence for the juvenile offender.
WHO IS YOUTH COURT DIVERSION?
Youth Court Diversion offers an avenue for engaging the teens in a partnership with the juvenile justice system to respond to the problem of the juvenile crime by increasing awareness of the delinquency issues within the local community and by mobilizing teens to take an active role in addressing the problem of juvenile crime within the community.
The program is made up of high school student volunteers, grades 9-12 from Onslow County School District, including private and home schools. Student volunteers serve as prosecuting and defense attorneys, jurors, bailiffs and court clerks. The only adults involved in the hearings are the judge and jury mentors.
WHY YOUTH COURT DIVERSION?
Youth Court Diversion harnesses positive peer pressure and utilizes it in a peer judgment setting to help address the anti-social, delinquent, and/or criminal behavior of youth.
The peer judgment and positive peer pressure aspects of teen/youth court diversion programs are the two primary programmatic elements which separate these from other youth/juvenile justice voluntary diversion programs.
This program also diverts less serious juvenile cases away from the more formal court system. Youth Court Diversion is based upon the premise that teen offenders will more readily accept responsibility for the actions when judged and sentenced by their peers.
- Proceedings are confidential and private.
- No lawyer is appointed.
- The juvenile remains in the custody of parent(s).
- Juvenile records are destroyed 28 days after the youth’s 17th birthday if program is successfully completed.
YOUTH COURT DIVERSION GOALS
Youth Court Diversion is an early intervention community resource for first-time juvenile offenders. The program seeks to reduce recidivism by holding juveniles responsible for their actions through community based sentencing options. Offenders will be sentenced by a jury of their peers and will have the opportunity to expunge their record.
- Reduces the likelihood of juveniles re-offending.
- Minimizes negative labeling of referred youth.
- Requires young people to take responsibility for the actions.
- Allows the community an active role in addressing juvenile crime.
- Educates youth on the criminal justice system.
- Allows juvenile court time and resources to focus on more dangerous offenders.
YOUTH COURT DIVERSION VOLUNTEERS
Youth Court Diversion volunteers have the opportunity to learn about the responsibility of serving as a juror and an advocate for their client. Volunteers are given the opportunity to investigate possible educational and vocational options for their own future. Most importantly, volunteers learn the responsibility of serving their community and taking an active role as a citizen in the judicial system.
Click the thumbnail below for the Youth Court Diversion Program application: