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Youth Cases for Youth Courts: A Guide to the Typical Offenses Handled by Youth Courts

NCJ Number
Margaret E. Fisher
Katherine Fraser
Date Published
80 pages
This guidebook assists youth courts in making decisions on cases to accept and reject and helps youth courts expand their caseload through the expansion of categories of referrals accepted.
Drawing on the experiences of new and existing youth courts in the years since the national guidelines were published, this guide provides information about how to setup a referral committee, factors to consider when selecting which cases to hear and which to reject, and red flags that should trigger careful consideration if a referral is not appropriate for youth court. The referral guide is divided into three main sections. First, it provides information on how to find case referrals for youth court, advice on setting up an advisory group and referral committee, and factors to consider in selecting the types of referrals to be heard or avoided. In addition to the above, it offers hands-on advice from the National Advisory Committee. Section 2 is intended as a reference. It sets out 27 offenses that are frequently addressed by youth courts. It gives general definitions of the offenses and examples of typical cases, as well as listing some of the factors youth courts should consider in deciding whether to accept or reject these cases. Section 3, the final section, contains information about some of the dispositions that are generally available to youth courts. Youth court is an intervention program. It is a forum in which young people sentence their peers for offenses. The youth courts hear cases from the justice system, as well as the school disciplinary system. Youth courts involve collaborations with judges, law enforcement, court workers, community agencies, attorneys, and youth from other schools. The youth court approach provides swift and appropriate responses to youth offenders based on the gravity of their offense, an assessment of the potential risk for reoffending, and appropriate treatment to reduce the risk of committing additional offenses. Appendix