The goal of the Community Youth Court is to deter and prevent juvenile delinquency and alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use amongst youth in the City of White Plains. Youth courts are youth-led programs in which youth sentence their peers for minor delinquent and status offenses and other problem behaviors. Currently there are over 1, youth court programs in operation in 49 states and over in operation within New York State. Locally, there exists a positive base of support for youth courts in Westchester County- with programs collectively in existence for over 30 years within New Rochelle, Greenburgh, and Yorktown Heights, amongst other areas.
Youth Court | Center for Court Innovation
Youth (Teen) Court
A teen court sometimes called youth court or peer court is a problem-solving court within the juvenile justice system where teens charged with certain types of offenses can be sentenced by a jury of same-aged peers. Depending on their training, community support, and agreements with traditional court systems, most teen or youth courts are recognized as valid, legal venues for the process of hearing cases , sentencing and sentence fulfillment. Teen courts and their verdicts are not authorized by public law. Teen courts are staffed by youth volunteers who serve in various capacities within the program, trained and acting in the roles of jurors , lawyers , bailiffs , and clerks. Most teen courts are sentencing courts in which the offender has already admitted guilt or pleaded no contest. Many teen courts operate much like a traditional court , holding hearings before a judge and jury with the jury deliberating to determine an appropriate disposition.
Two types of cases are processed by a juvenile court: civil matters, usually concerning care of an abandoned child or one whose parents cannot support him; and criminal matters arising from antisocial behaviour by the child. Most statutes provide that all persons under a given age 18 years in many places must be processed initially by the juvenile court, which can then, at its discretion, assign the case to an ordinary court. The idea behind the juvenile court system is that children should be treated with special care. Its originators considered it futile and unjust to punish a child for wrongdoing, preferring rehabilitation instead. To accomplish this, the court operates informally and paternally.
Youth courts train teenagers to handle real-life cases involving their peers, offering a restorative response to misbehavior. Youth courts use positive peer pressure to ensure that young people who have committed minor offenses pay back the community and receive the help they need to avoid further involvement in the justice system. Youth courts hear a range of low-level crimes; many handle cases that would otherwise wind up in Family Court or Criminal Court. The Center also assists local jurisdictions in their efforts to establish youth courts. Harlem Youth Court members learn how to use a sling shot during their annual team-building retreat.