California Association of Youth Courts is a charitable non-profit corporation.
(IRS Code 501(c)3 - EIN 26-3678335)
• The Youth Court movement is expanding rapidly with thousands of teens active in dozens of Youth Courts statewide.
• Kids are empowered with trial by jury of their peers. There is no right to trial by jury in traditional state run juvenile justice systems. Kids can only get a trial by their peer jurors in their own local Youth Court.
• Peer jury outcomes reduce crime.(7% low rate of multiple offenders vs. 70% recidivism in adult prison population).
• Civic engagement is energized through accountability and education instead of detention and incarceration.
What is Youth Court?
Youth Court is a cost-effective community investment to reduce crime and build assets in our youth. It does so by diverting young offenders – referred by probation, law enforcement and schools – away from the formal juvenile justice system to a community-based system.
Student volunteers, aged 12 – 18, are trained as advocates, bailiffs, jurors, jury forepersons, court clerks, attorneys and judges, to lead all aspects of the Youth Court program. A youth charged with an offense, such as vandalism or possession of drugs, may avoid traditional pitfalls of juvenile court by opting to accept a trial before a jury of teen peers.
With a restorative justice and trauma-informed focus, Youth Court volunteers help teen offenders to be accountable for their actions, reflect on their poor choices, identify their personal strengths and commit to repairing damage done, while restoring relations with families, schools and communities.
An offender in the program must participate on a future jury, perform community service and may attend counseling as a condition of the Restorative Plan. There is no criminal record upon successful completion of the program.
California Association of Youth Courts
The primary objective of the California Association of Youth Court is to support the formation and continuity of Youth Courts. Youth Courts have different styles of operation depending on the legal culture of a community.
Universal training is accomplished via an annual Summit and roundtable events held throughout the state. Adults and students collaborate with persons interested in forming a Youth Court or who wish to expand or improve an existing program.
Constrain the school-to-prison pipelines by providing unique, peer-driven restorative justice models as alternatives to the traditional juvenile justice system.
Provide opportunities for youth to feel connected to and supported by their community.
Empower young people to take an active role in addressing criminal offenses of their peers and expand access to justice.