|Our First Spotlight Youth Court Is...
Humbolt County Teen Court!
The mission of Humboldt County Teen Court is to provide restorative justice and harm reduction alternatives to the juvenile justice system. We empower youth ages 13-18 with skills, resources, and opportunities to be accountable for harms they have caused and to positively contribute to their communities, schools, and peer groups.
Teen Court accomplishes these goals through:
- Peer accountability
- Educational opportunities
- Youth leadership development
- Brief Interventions for Substance Using Adolescents program
- A youth court where teen volunteers hear real juvenile criminal cases and determine a restorative sentence that Teen Court monitors
Humboldt County Teen Court is an intensive after-school program for teens which includes leadership development, trainings in civic responsibility, and mentoring with judges and attorneys while functioning as an innovative alternative juvenile offender diversion program. Teen Court is a real court administered by teens for teens who have chosen to have their cases heard by their peers. The program trains youth to be judges, attorneys, and jurors who handle low-level misdemeanor cases. By providing a forum for students to deliver justice to peers who have engaged in first-time criminal activity, youth courts put civics into practice.
Humboldt County Teen Court works with approximately 75 student volunteers, made up of previous offenders, youth from local schools, and Boys & Girls Club teen members. We serve approximately 50 offenders each year through Teen Court sessions held twice monthly. We routinely maintain a recidivism rate around 6%. With a success rate of 94%, Teen Court is proud to be a part of the wellness and stability of youth in our community.
Brief Interventions for Substance Using Adolescents: Since 2011, Humboldt County Teen Court has offered an evidenced-based two-part series called Brief Interventions for Substance Using Adolescents. This is an evidence-based psycho-educational tool for early-stage mild or moderate juvenile users. The sessions are offered on an ongoing one-on-one basis with an adult facilitator and based on Motivational Interviewing, Stages of Change, and Cognitive Behavior techniques. Teens and their parents are referred to the Brief Intervention sessions from either a Probation Officer, School disciplinary officer, Police Diversion officer, or Teen Court jury or they can come to the sessions on their own. The focus of the sessions is to address destructive behavior, talk about good decision making and how to implement positive changes.
A Day In The Life Of Humbolt County Teen Court