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Evaluation of Peer Court, Inc.: 1993-2001 Statistics and Recidivism

NCJ Number
Andrew Rasmussen, M.A.
Date Published
November 2002
13 pages
This report presents the findings and methodology of an evaluation of the peer court in Danville, IL, which is a diversion court in which the peers of youth who have committed minor offenses determine court sentencing.
Of the youth who completed court processing from 1993-2001, years during which the court's operations had stabilized, 10 percent had committed a misdemeanor or felony within 1 year. No comparison group of similar juvenile offenders who had committed minor offenses and been processed differently could be developed, so there was no way to compare the peer court's impact on reoffending with another type of disposition used in the county; however, when compared with the recidivism rate of youth processed by other peer courts throughout the country, the recidivism rate of the Danville peer court was equal to or better than most other peer courts. Between 1993 and 2001, the peer court sentenced youth offenders to just over 4 years of community service, 1,200 jury duty assignments, and 1,200 writing assignments (essays and apologies). Providing valuable service to the county and local agencies ($53,000 worth at minimum wage) and supplementing academic writing curricula should be included as benefit the peer court provides to the local community. In addition, almost 400 classes or counseling sessions have been assigned to offenders, providing them with educational and personal support resources. The evaluation used peer court records for 1993 to 2001. Summary statistics are presented on the demographic characteristics of peer court offenders, the types of offenses involved, and the number of sanctions decided by the peer jury. 7 figures, 2 tables, 5 references, and appended survival analysis/Cox regression model results