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Evaluation of a Delaware Teen Court

NCJ Number
Juvenile and Family Court Journal Volume: 52 Issue: 3 Dated: Summer 2001 Pages: 11-21
Arthur H. Garrison M.S.
Date Published
11 pages
This article describes the Kent County (DE) Teen Court Program and presents the results of an evaluation of the program’s first 2 years of operation starting in January 1999.
The Delaware Criminal Justice Council awarded a grant to Delaware Teen Courts, Inc., to support the operation of the Kent County Teen Court Program. The program aims to provide participants with hands-on education in the judicial process, to create a sanction program that will not create a permanent record for a juvenile, and to promote a sense of community responsibility in the program participants. The teen court program is an adult-model teen court in which all the judicial actors are juveniles with the exception of the judge. The program opened 51 cases in 1999 and 55 cases in 2000. It closed 29 cases in 1999 and 42 cases in 2000. It had 35 open cases as of December 15, 2000. Sanctions most often included participation on the jury as a peer juror and some level of community services. Additional sanctions in some cases included curfews, letters of apology, participation in counseling, and writing an essay acknowledging the wrongfulness of the conduct. A total of 63.3 percent of youths discharged from the program successfully completed all sanctions imposed by the peer court. A total of 84.4 percent of these youths did not violate their 12-month Attorney General probation. The analysis concluded that the community correction and having peers inflict the sanctions are what makes teen courts effective. Tables and 19 references (Author abstract modified)