Youth Courts

Youth Courts February 2011

RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association urges federal, state, territorial, and local governments to create and provide appropriate support for Youth or Teen Courts that, through a peer-driven restorative justice process involving family members, diverts youth from the formal consequences of juvenile court petitions, proceedings, adjudications, or juvenile justice sanctions by:

  1. Providing a valuable civic education for all participants, especially one that builds respect for the rule of law and the legal/judicial process, including mentorship and community service opportunities;
  2. Permitting program referrals from prosecutors, probation departments and police, as well as from the courts, and not limiting program eligibility to first-time offenders;
  3. Encouraging judges, lawyers, law students, civic organizations and businesses to recruit youth volunteers and to provide training, other assistance and support to create, sustain and promote programs; and
  4. Supporting national, state, and local research and evaluation on all aspects of these programs.

These represent only those ABA Policy Resolutions in which the Commission on Youth at Risk was the principal sponsor.