U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Teen Court: Making First Offenses...Last Offenses (Video)

NCJ Number
Date Published
0 pages
This video profiles the structure, operations, personnel, and benefits of teen courts as viewed by participants, parents, and the criminal justice professionals familiar with and responsible for its implementation; issues in starting and maintaining a teen court are also discussed.
Teen court is an alternative forum and disposition for first-time misdemeanor juvenile offenders who acknowledge their guilt and are willing to receive a sanction for their offense as determined by a court of their peers in exchange for having their offense removed from criminal justice records. The format for the teen court can vary. In the mock trial presented in this video, the presiding judge is an adult professional judge, but the body that determines the sanction is composed of a cross-section of local peers of the offender. Segments of the video consist of the mock trial that demonstrates the operation of the teen court. Most of the video consists of comments by juvenile offenders who have appeared before a teen court, teen court participants, and adult professionals who have been involved in the development and maintenance of the teen court program. The juveniles talk about the benefits of the teen court, both from the perspective of the offender and as a court volunteer. The sanctions of the teen court are patterned according to the tenets of restorative justice, which emphasizes the following three "R's": repair of the victim, repair of the community, and repair of the offender. One of the adult commentators in the video notes that statewide in Wisconsin, the recidivism rate of teen court participants is 13-19 percent, compared with 60 percent or higher for first-time juvenile misdemeanants who choose processing by the traditional juvenile court system.