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Community Youth Courts offer a diversion program that serves as an adjunct to the traditional Juvenile Justice System, and is entirely voluntary. Its purpose is to address the early stages of juvenile delinquency by bringing teenage offenders of misdemeanors before a jury of their peers. Sentencing includes constructive community service and/or restitution using restorative justice principles. Emphasis is placed on maintaining respectful treatment of offenders and minimizing negative labeling. Successful completion of this program means that the teenage offender will not have the incident added to their juvenile record.
Community Youth Courts offer diversion programs (alternatives to the traditional juvenile justice system) to middle and high school teens who have been arrested for misdemeanor or lesser crimes in the Southern Contra Costa County and Alameda County.
Youth Courts provide services to hard-to-serve youth who previously would have slipped through the cracks of the juvenile justice system and who would potentially have continued their interaction with the criminal justice system well into adulthood and ensure that they receive targeted services that may help turn their life around.
Youth Courts are entirely voluntary and address the early stages of juvenile delinquency by bringing teenage offenders before a jury of their peers. Sentencing includes constructive sanctions such as community service, jury duty, Life Choices class, apologies and/or restitution using restorative justice principles. Emphasis is placed on maintaining respectful treatment of offenders and victims. Participating youth learn about making responsible choices and accepting the consequences for their actions. Successful completion of the program means that the offender will have no criminal record.
Communities benefit from having a steady supply of community service volunteers.
Recidivism rates are very low, so there is less crime and less money lost in having to process the youth offenders through the juvenile court system.
- Tonya Clenney
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