An Official Website of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Our contention is that if peer pressure can be used to exert a negative influence, it likewise can be used as a positive force. Those who work with youth know just how instrumental peer pressure can be in the decision-making process of all young minds. Teen Court is based upon the premise that most young people want to do what is right when making decisions.
Special Feature: Youth/Teen Court Diversion Programs
Teen Court - Kentucky Court of Justice
Teen Court provides meaningful and constructive alternatives to the formal prosecution of young offenders who have accepted responsibility for their offense s. This diversion program provides specific and immediate sanctions and services to youth. Teen Court utilizes the positive impact of peer pressure. The defendants are provided resources for individual and family services. The victim and community are compensated for the criminal act. The defendants are encouraged to return to Teen Court as a student volunteer.
Youth courts serve as immediate intervention with minor offenders who can be diverted from the juvenile justice system. These courts fill an intervention gap in many jurisdictions in which heavy caseloads and the need to focus on more serious offenders result in a low priority for the enforcement of misdemeanor charges. Youth courts provide immediate sanctions, holding young persons accountable for minor delinquent acts in a positive manner, while extending that accountability to the community—usually in the form of community service. Thus they hold considerable promise as an immediate intervention in a graduated sanctions system.
Youth court diversion programs are intended to offer an alternative to the traditional juvenile justice system and school disciplinary proceedings. Typically, youth court offenders are first-time offenders between ages 11 and 17 who have been charged with misdemeanor or status offenses, with offenses including theft, vandalism, disorderly conduct, assault, and possession of marijuana. Additionally, youth courts have been used to handle school disciplinary issues, underage drinking, and tobacco possession cases Youth Courts: An Empirical Update and Analysis of Future Organizational and Research Needs , Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention-Sponsored,