There are so many great affects of youth court but before I really get into those I am going to explain what the youth court is, how it works and other basic things like that. But don’t worry there will be plenty of information about the affects coming soon.
What is Youth Court?
Youth Court is an amazing judicial program that is run through individual cities. It consists of adult leaders or instructors, a local police officer, and a panel of teen volunteers. Teenagers that range from freshman to seniors in high school are allowed to apply to be on the panel of the city in which they live.
The purpose of the Youth Court
Youth Court is focused on restorative justice and rehabilitating teens. This means that the Youth Court wants to help teens realize what they’ve done wrong and try to help them make better decisions in the future. Rather than just punishing them and sending them away to continue their bad behavior. This is the beauty and true power of the program. This helps to turn kids lives around without them having a permanent mark on their record.
Affects of Youth Court
The Youth Court has great affects on many people including the offender, the volunteers, and the community.
Youth Court probably has the greatest affect on the offenders. This is a great program that helps kids and their families turn their lives around. Sometimes kids don’t think that there will ever be any consequences for their bad actions. When they come to a place like Youth Court in a court room, and their peers asking them questions they tend to get a little scared. Then they start to realize how their actions affect others. As part of the hearing we try to focus on how their actions affected others. In cases such as shoplifting we ask the youth to identify their favorite possession and then ask the how they would feel if it was stolen. We also ask more specific questions depending on their case and their situation. We have seen kids decide to make better decisions and stick to it and it is amazing.
This program gives those who volunteer a great feeling of service and of community. As a volunteer I feel like I am making a difference in the community. It gives me the feeling that I am helping these teenagers turn their lives around, and see them succeed. I get to see people decide to make better choices and then see how much happier they are to have made the change. It is helpful especially for teen volunteers to take part in this program. This program keeps them a part of something bigger than themselves. Youth Court helps them to put things into perspective, and their teenage problems don’t seem like such a big deal anymore.
A regular part of offenders disposition is community service. This connects the teens to the community in a very literal way. The offenders are asked to give back to their community and only get happy feelings in return. They try to make up for their mistake. Helping the community makes it a better place for everyone in it. Through this service and kids deciding to make good decisions the community grows together and becomes happier together.
What makes the Youth court Effective.
There are many things that make the Youth Court effective including uniforms, training, and are great leaders.
Everyone in the Youth Court is required to wear their uniform shirt. The shirts are not to fancy but we all look unified while wearing the same thing. The collared shirts also show professionalism. This shows the offenders that this program and the situation that they are in is for real it is serious. They know they need to stop messing around. Unity and professionalism are two necessary pillars in the effectiveness of the program.
All Youth Court members must undergo training before handling any real cases. The first part of the training is a summer conference held in various places throughout Utah. The summer conferences are three days full of classes and breakout sessions to help prepare us to handle real life cases during the school year. There are also many weeks of two hour training sessions. Even after we start cases we continue to train. Every member of the team being on the same page and working together is very important in having a successful court. One of the most effective aspects of our training is our folders.
Our folders contain many useful tools. There is a hearing script which is absolutely essential to an effective Youth Court experience. This makes sure that everyone knows what to say and when to say it. There are also a lot of suggested questions to ask when we are in a bind. Every case is different and every case has different questions that need to be asked. There are also job descriptions because there are many roles that each member of the Youth Court needs to know how to preform. The job descriptions help to make sure everyone knows what their responsibilities are every time.
Our leaders have always helped us. They are extremely helpful every week. They will answer any question that we have. Our leaders are great teachers and always push us to become better. Without such great leaders this program would not be nearly as successful as it is.
The Benefits of Youth Court
There are many benefits of Youth Court. Many of them have already been talked about in this post . Such as the amazing affects on community and the teens involved. There are also other benefits such as the community service hours. Every volunteer fills out a community service log for every hour that they volunteer. This log looks great on future college and job applications.
If you want to learn more about Youth Court then you should visit the National Association of Youth Courts website.
I also have another article about cases and procedures that you could read.